The press brings another story of a fall through a fragile roof light that could have been avoided through correct planning and product selection. This time we hear about the well known retailer, Tesco, which didn’t provide any fall protection solution to prevent falling through a fragile roof. Fortunately, on this occasion, a Tesco Maintenance Ltd employee was lucky to suffer only minor injuries after falling 30 feet through a fragile skylight of the Tesco Liscard Express store in Wallasey in June 2014.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the worker was part of a team carrying out repairs to the roof and gutters of the store when the incident occurred.
Tesco Maintenance Ltd and Tesco Stores Ltd were prosecuted by the HSE after an investigation found that no risk assessment or method statement had been produced prior to carrying out the work.
The client, Tesco Stores, should have informed Tesco Maintenance about the fragility of their roof and they should have identified the risks and taken precautions before the maintenance team started working on the roof.
Tesco Stores Ltd of Welwyn Garden City pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £200,000 with £712.70 costs.
Tesco Maintenance Ltd of Welwyn Garden City also pleaded guilty and was fined £300,000 with £624.60 costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Chris Hatton said: “Contractors should treat all roofs with care and check before starting any work if they are fragile.”
“I am shocked at a company the size of Tesco failing to take even basic precautions to prevent injury to its employees and further, to risk injury to the public”.
Many similar incidents could be prevented by installing an appropriate safety system. There are fall protection solutions available on the market, such as Kee Safety’s recently launched Kee Cover fragile roof light covers, that have been specifically designed to protect roofers and maintenance teams from falling through roof skylights.