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Health and Safety Regulatory Compliance Issues and the Duties of Directors

Directors Prosecuted and Fined £13,300 Over Unsafe Roof Work

This case study looks at the duties of directors in relation to Health and Safety regulatory compliance issues. The case resulted in a prosecution and a fine of £13,300 for the directors of a company over unsafe roof work. The full details can be seen in the Health and Safety Executive’s (“HSE”) press release regarding its investigation into the conduct of Mr Jake Clarke and Mr Aaron Hepworth (“the Directors”) of Enviroply Roofing Limited (“the Company”). We comment on the case, which shows that the HSE will act quickly and robustly when directors fail in their Health and Safety Duties.

The Background to this Regulatory Compliance Case

The HSE were sent photographs, by a member of the public, of the Directors onsite, walking across a beam during refurbishment and extension works of a building in Central Manchester.

Investigations by the HSE found that there was nothing in place to prevent or mitigate a fall from this beam. It was discovered that there was a full-time scaffolder on site who was employed to build any scaffolding required, but a decision had been taken by the Directors that the job needed to be rushed so they could submit their invoices earlier than usual.

The Directors failed to take proper precautions in managing the risk of a fall from a height, despite the resources being on site to provide scaffolding and safe working platforms.

The Company was found guilty of breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined £13,300.  The Directors, personally, were each found guilty of Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 being fined a total sum of £3,200 with costs of £2,321.

What The Health and Safety Executive Said

HSE Inspector, Matt Greenly stated that:

“It is hoped that other construction workers will see these cases as a warning that HSE will act robustly to concerns received and perhaps they will take a little more time to protect themselves on their next site.”

Our Comment on this Regulatory Compliance Issues Case

Had the Directors taken some simple precautions to ensure the safety of their workers, they would have avoided the prosecution and subsequent fine. It seems that they were lucky to escape with no serious injuries (or even a fatality) as a result of the incident. The case is a reminder that the HSE will take action against Directors who fail in their duties to comply with Health and Safety legislation.

If you have any questions regarding your duties as a company director under Health and Safety legislation, and the effect of non-compliance in any case, or if you or your company are subject to an investigation or prosecution, please contact us or call us today on 0121 200 7040 for a FREE, no obligation initial chat.

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