A ROOFING contractor put the lives of workers at risk by failing to protect them from falls as they worked on a barn roof near Bridgwater, a court has heard.

Neil Popham, 50, was hired to build agricultural buildings at a farm in Over Stowey. During the construction in May 2013, a complaint was made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about the safety of workers during the roof installation.

As a result, a HSE inspector visited the site and her investigation led to the prosecution of Mr Popham at Taunton Magistrates Court on March 3, 2014.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kate Leftly, said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common reasons for injuries and fatalities at work, and it is fortunate that no-one was seriously injured or killed in this case.

“It's crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and that sufficient safety measures are put in place to protect staff.”

The court was told that on the day of the inspector's visit, three workers were on top of a steel agricultural building installing roof sheets. The roof height varied from seven metres to nine metres.

The inspector found there was no edge protection to prevent anyone falling off the building and inadequate netting to mitigate the effects of any fall. The workers had accessed the roof using a ladder that was not tied to prevent it falling.

Mr Popham had received enforcement notices relating to safe working at height on previous jobs.

Neil Popham, of Higher Heathcombe Farm, Enmore, near Bridgwater, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £950 in costs.

For safety information visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls.