BUILDING and roofing companies in Cheshire West and Chester are being urged to improve safety standards after the number of formal warnings issued last year more than doubled.
Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served 88 enforcement notices across Cheshire in 2009 covering unsafe work at height, compared to 31 in 2008. In Cheshire West and Chester, the figure rose from 12 to 26.
More than 100 roofers across Cheshire are now being encouraged to attend a free safety awareness event in Winsford on Wednesday, May 26, or risk an unannounced visit from an inspector.
HSE is concerned that some companies may be trying to save money by allowing employees to work on roofs without scaffolding or other safety equipment, putting lives at risk.
The free safety event at Winsford Lifestyle Centre in Winsford has been organised as part of a joint initiative with Trading Standards.
It will aim to raise awareness about the dangers of working on roofs without scaffolding, and of the standard of work expected in the industry.
Neil Jamieson, a principal inspector for HSE in the North West, said: “We’re worried that some companies in Cheshire are trying to cut down on costs and undercut each other by not using scaffolding and other safety equipment.
“Falls from height kill dozens of workers every year and seriously injure hundreds more. But the number of deaths will carry on rising if firms don’t accept they’re putting their workers in danger.
“We will continue to take action against companies that do not take the safety of their workers seriously, and will prosecute those that fail to provide the necessary scaffolding.
“It simply isn’t worth companies trying to cut costs if lives are going to be put at risk. And it will cost them time and money in the long run if we decide to take any kind of enforcement action.”
Falls from height are the biggest single cause of workplace deaths in the UK, with 191 serious injuries in Cheshire during 2008/9.
The safety awareness event at Winsford Lifestyle Centre is due to start at 5.30pm on Tuesday 26 May. More details are available by calling 0161 952 8205.
The event has been organised as part of the Working Well Together initiative – a partnership between HSE and the construction industry – which aims to improve health and safety in the sector.
More information on preventing injuries from falls is available at www.hse.gov.uk/falls.