News & Resources

16 Jun 2021

Prosecution of school in Southend highlights the need for safe systems when working at height

A High School Academy in Southend has been fined £30,000 after an employee was injured whilst using an unsecured ladder to dismantle a canopy roof.  The employee fell when the ladder slipped, sustaining fractures to his face, a fractured femur and other injuries.

An investigation by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the school did not have a risk assessment or safe system for dismantling the canopy roof which resulted in the work being conducted unsafely.  No assessment was made as to the fragility of the roof before accessing it, suitable equipment was not provided, the injured person was not trained and the work was not supervised.  The investigation found that other work at height at the school was also carried out without specific planning or supervision and was not carried out safely.

David Paveley advises schools on Health and Safety precautions and comments:

“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country.  Simple, practical measures would have prevented this accident and its consequences.

Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”

If you have any concerns about working at height or would like to discuss your Health and Safety requirements, please contact David on 01302 499062 or


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