Roofer George Nicholls fined for balancing ladder on van roof whilst working in St Mary's Road in Southampton

Daily Echo: Roofer George Nicholls balancing on the ladder on his van whilst working in Southampton Roofer George Nicholls balancing on the ladder on his van whilst working in Southampton

A roofer was fined £4,000 for precariously balancing a ladder on top of his van while painting a shop in Southampton.

A passer by spotted George Nicholls working eight metres (26ft) above the ground in St Mary's Road with a labourer providing the footing.

After being tipped off by the public he was photographed risking himself and others when he fully-extended the ladder from the roof of his van.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated and prosecuted Nicholls for safety failings alongside the company that paid him to undertake the work.

The 25-year-old admitted breaching health and safety laws at Southampton magistrates' court after parking his van over a bus stop on a busy road and failing to erect safe scaffolding.

After the hearing Health and Safety Executive Inspector Frank Flannery said: “The photographic evidence speaks for itself in terms of the risks created. Anyone can see the system of work is plain wrong, so why a supposedly competent roofer chose to work in this way is anyone's guess.

“George Nicholls blatantly and recklessly risked harming himself and others, and he did so on behalf of Maintenance 24-7 Ltd, who had clear duties of their own to ensure the work at height was properly planned, managed and executed in a safe manner.

“The standards of both parties fell far below those required, and I would like to thank the concerned member of the public who initially brought the matter to the council's attention.”

Ladders were specified as the chosen method of work, but after the finding the façade was higher than the ladder he had with him, the roofer opted to improvise.

The court was told this system was fraught with risk. Not only could Mr Nicholls or his labourer have fallen, but there was no form of segregation to prevent vehicles or pedestrians from passing under or near the work area. So they could have been struck by falling equipment or materials.

HSE established that the van in question was also parked over a bus stop on a busy road with double yellow lines - indicating a further lack of regard or awareness.

Magistrates heard a pavement licence should have been obtained to create a properly segregated safe-working area, and that scaffolding or a mobile elevated work platform would have provided a safer option for accessing the façade.

George Nicholls, of Hogs Pudding Lane, Newdigate, Surrey, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £666 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety rules.

Maintenance 24-7 Ltd, of King's Lynn, Norfolk, who sub-contracted the work to Nicholls's firm, Laser Roofing London and South East Roofing Limited, in March also admitted safety breaches and were fined £10,000 with £784 costs.

Comments (22)

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11:27am Thu 29 May 14

mickey01 says...

i bet his bosses hit the roof when they found out
i bet his bosses hit the roof when they found out mickey01
  • Score: 14

11:43am Thu 29 May 14

bigfella777 says...

So he gets fined for that yet someone hangs off a tower crane and gets away with it.
So he gets fined for that yet someone hangs off a tower crane and gets away with it. bigfella777
  • Score: 24

12:00pm Thu 29 May 14

Turtlebay says...

"“He blatantly and recklessly risked harming himself and others" yet the article says that "After being tipped off by the public he was photographed."

It should have been the Public who were fined for tipping him off!
"“He blatantly and recklessly risked harming himself and others" yet the article says that "After being tipped off by the public he was photographed." It should have been the Public who were fined for tipping him off! Turtlebay
  • Score: 13

12:04pm Thu 29 May 14

sass says...

Namby pambyism!
Namby pambyism! sass
  • Score: 3

12:43pm Thu 29 May 14

C2OPPY says...

Ridiculous fine for the company issuing him with the work they sub contracted to a professional company to carry out the work in good faith that it'd be carried out correctly
Unable to over see his work and trusting him and then get hit with a 10k fine
Ridiculous fine for the company issuing him with the work they sub contracted to a professional company to carry out the work in good faith that it'd be carried out correctly Unable to over see his work and trusting him and then get hit with a 10k fine C2OPPY
  • Score: 10

3:14pm Thu 29 May 14

Halo Saint says...

One small step for man One giant errrr Drop ?!
One small step for man One giant errrr Drop ?! Halo Saint
  • Score: 3

3:21pm Thu 29 May 14

Zexagon says...

The ladders not fully extended. Got another 4 possibly 5 rungs to go
The ladders not fully extended. Got another 4 possibly 5 rungs to go Zexagon
  • Score: 5

4:39pm Thu 29 May 14

Georgethepie says...

So this twit has received a massive fine for risking his own neck and not applying for a pavement permit which probably costs even more money.
But the question should really be what happens to all these fines.
No doubt they will go towards the HSE's summer BBQ or some new office funiture.
Honestly do people not exercise common sense these days. If your prepared to walk under, near, or on this contraption you deserve all that lands on you.
So this twit has received a massive fine for risking his own neck and not applying for a pavement permit which probably costs even more money. But the question should really be what happens to all these fines. No doubt they will go towards the HSE's summer BBQ or some new office funiture. Honestly do people not exercise common sense these days. If your prepared to walk under, near, or on this contraption you deserve all that lands on you. Georgethepie
  • Score: 2

4:43pm Thu 29 May 14

southamptonadi says...

C2OPPY wrote:
Ridiculous fine for the company issuing him with the work they sub contracted to a professional company to carry out the work in good faith that it'd be carried out correctly
Unable to over see his work and trusting him and then get hit with a 10k fine
And that's how all the stupid courses come about and all their contractors will now have to write method statements etc explains how they will work.

They will have to come out and check as we'll now for fear of another fine.

All the courses will cover their backs as they will be able to turn around and say he's been on the ladder safety course so it's all his own fault.
[quote][p][bold]C2OPPY[/bold] wrote: Ridiculous fine for the company issuing him with the work they sub contracted to a professional company to carry out the work in good faith that it'd be carried out correctly Unable to over see his work and trusting him and then get hit with a 10k fine[/p][/quote]And that's how all the stupid courses come about and all their contractors will now have to write method statements etc explains how they will work. They will have to come out and check as we'll now for fear of another fine. All the courses will cover their backs as they will be able to turn around and say he's been on the ladder safety course so it's all his own fault. southamptonadi
  • Score: 6

4:43pm Thu 29 May 14

southamptonadi says...

C2OPPY wrote:
Ridiculous fine for the company issuing him with the work they sub contracted to a professional company to carry out the work in good faith that it'd be carried out correctly
Unable to over see his work and trusting him and then get hit with a 10k fine
And that's how all the stupid courses come about and all their contractors will now have to write method statements etc explains how they will work.

They will have to come out and check as we'll now for fear of another fine.

All the courses will cover their backs as they will be able to turn around and say he's been on the ladder safety course so it's all his own fault.
[quote][p][bold]C2OPPY[/bold] wrote: Ridiculous fine for the company issuing him with the work they sub contracted to a professional company to carry out the work in good faith that it'd be carried out correctly Unable to over see his work and trusting him and then get hit with a 10k fine[/p][/quote]And that's how all the stupid courses come about and all their contractors will now have to write method statements etc explains how they will work. They will have to come out and check as we'll now for fear of another fine. All the courses will cover their backs as they will be able to turn around and say he's been on the ladder safety course so it's all his own fault. southamptonadi
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Thu 29 May 14

Dai Rear says...

If being a bit stupid is a crime costing 4K there are going to be a lot of bankrupt MP's soon
If being a bit stupid is a crime costing 4K there are going to be a lot of bankrupt MP's soon Dai Rear
  • Score: 6

5:39pm Thu 29 May 14

southy says...

this going to happen more often as more and more company's go to zero contract, its the company at fault not the worker the company should off supplied the right gear for the job and to often now you will get company's cutting corners and telling the worker to get on with it or they are out of a job and some else will get the work
this going to happen more often as more and more company's go to zero contract, its the company at fault not the worker the company should off supplied the right gear for the job and to often now you will get company's cutting corners and telling the worker to get on with it or they are out of a job and some else will get the work southy
  • Score: -2

6:53pm Thu 29 May 14

Stubs says...

What a professional company this is. He looks like Frank Spencer. Think his in a little bit of trouble!
What a professional company this is. He looks like Frank Spencer. Think his in a little bit of trouble! Stubs
  • Score: -3

9:23pm Thu 29 May 14

Niel says...

southamptonadi wrote:
C2OPPY wrote:
Ridiculous fine for the company issuing him with the work they sub contracted to a professional company to carry out the work in good faith that it'd be carried out correctly
Unable to over see his work and trusting him and then get hit with a 10k fine
And that's how all the stupid courses come about and all their contractors will now have to write method statements etc explains how they will work.

They will have to come out and check as we'll now for fear of another fine.

All the courses will cover their backs as they will be able to turn around and say he's been on the ladder safety course so it's all his own fault.
Having dealt with life changing injuries due to falls, I'd rather the HSE wasn't being cut back by our caring Gov't. at the behest of big business and those that own and run them who don't even get their hands dirty, let alone put their lives at risk, save for the odd near miss on the golf course...

Under the control of contractors regulations both the original contractor and the sub contractor are at fault, trust doesn't wash, proper records proving the subby was vetted and intending to be doing it right might have been a defence though.

You can have all the courses you like, train everybody to the best standards, but there are always those that will take shortcuts, and the associated risks, in the hope of greater profit, or a few hours saved as paid time off.

As an appointed ladder inspector I regularly take dangerous ladders off people with Doctorates, intelligent, possibly, common sense however isn't measurable! As for contractors who are using ladders that Noah built, often falling apart but held together with insulating tape or old school string, thats another story.
[quote][p][bold]southamptonadi[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]C2OPPY[/bold] wrote: Ridiculous fine for the company issuing him with the work they sub contracted to a professional company to carry out the work in good faith that it'd be carried out correctly Unable to over see his work and trusting him and then get hit with a 10k fine[/p][/quote]And that's how all the stupid courses come about and all their contractors will now have to write method statements etc explains how they will work. They will have to come out and check as we'll now for fear of another fine. All the courses will cover their backs as they will be able to turn around and say he's been on the ladder safety course so it's all his own fault.[/p][/quote]Having dealt with life changing injuries due to falls, I'd rather the HSE wasn't being cut back by our caring Gov't. at the behest of big business and those that own and run them who don't even get their hands dirty, let alone put their lives at risk, save for the odd near miss on the golf course... Under the control of contractors regulations both the original contractor and the sub contractor are at fault, trust doesn't wash, proper records proving the subby was vetted and intending to be doing it right might have been a defence though. You can have all the courses you like, train everybody to the best standards, but there are always those that will take shortcuts, and the associated risks, in the hope of greater profit, or a few hours saved as paid time off. As an appointed ladder inspector I regularly take dangerous ladders off people with Doctorates, intelligent, possibly, common sense however isn't measurable! As for contractors who are using ladders that Noah built, often falling apart but held together with insulating tape or old school string, thats another story. Niel
  • Score: 4

10:13pm Thu 29 May 14

Zexagon says...

Niel wrote:
southamptonadi wrote:
C2OPPY wrote:
Ridiculous fine for the company issuing him with the work they sub contracted to a professional company to carry out the work in good faith that it'd be carried out correctly
Unable to over see his work and trusting him and then get hit with a 10k fine
And that's how all the stupid courses come about and all their contractors will now have to write method statements etc explains how they will work.

They will have to come out and check as we'll now for fear of another fine.

All the courses will cover their backs as they will be able to turn around and say he's been on the ladder safety course so it's all his own fault.
Having dealt with life changing injuries due to falls, I'd rather the HSE wasn't being cut back by our caring Gov't. at the behest of big business and those that own and run them who don't even get their hands dirty, let alone put their lives at risk, save for the odd near miss on the golf course...

Under the control of contractors regulations both the original contractor and the sub contractor are at fault, trust doesn't wash, proper records proving the subby was vetted and intending to be doing it right might have been a defence though.

You can have all the courses you like, train everybody to the best standards, but there are always those that will take shortcuts, and the associated risks, in the hope of greater profit, or a few hours saved as paid time off.

As an appointed ladder inspector I regularly take dangerous ladders off people with Doctorates, intelligent, possibly, common sense however isn't measurable! As for contractors who are using ladders that Noah built, often falling apart but held together with insulating tape or old school string, thats another story.
Do you work weekends Niel? If I was on a dodgy ladder working on a Sunday should I worry that you would turn up unexpectedly?
[quote][p][bold]Niel[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]southamptonadi[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]C2OPPY[/bold] wrote: Ridiculous fine for the company issuing him with the work they sub contracted to a professional company to carry out the work in good faith that it'd be carried out correctly Unable to over see his work and trusting him and then get hit with a 10k fine[/p][/quote]And that's how all the stupid courses come about and all their contractors will now have to write method statements etc explains how they will work. They will have to come out and check as we'll now for fear of another fine. All the courses will cover their backs as they will be able to turn around and say he's been on the ladder safety course so it's all his own fault.[/p][/quote]Having dealt with life changing injuries due to falls, I'd rather the HSE wasn't being cut back by our caring Gov't. at the behest of big business and those that own and run them who don't even get their hands dirty, let alone put their lives at risk, save for the odd near miss on the golf course... Under the control of contractors regulations both the original contractor and the sub contractor are at fault, trust doesn't wash, proper records proving the subby was vetted and intending to be doing it right might have been a defence though. You can have all the courses you like, train everybody to the best standards, but there are always those that will take shortcuts, and the associated risks, in the hope of greater profit, or a few hours saved as paid time off. As an appointed ladder inspector I regularly take dangerous ladders off people with Doctorates, intelligent, possibly, common sense however isn't measurable! As for contractors who are using ladders that Noah built, often falling apart but held together with insulating tape or old school string, thats another story.[/p][/quote]Do you work weekends Niel? If I was on a dodgy ladder working on a Sunday should I worry that you would turn up unexpectedly? Zexagon
  • Score: -2

10:57pm Thu 29 May 14

Niel says...

On call 24/365, but I'd rather not have to work weekends too often!

Accident investigation is a bloody business, not just in the literal sense.
On call 24/365, but I'd rather not have to work weekends too often! Accident investigation is a bloody business, not just in the literal sense. Niel
  • Score: 1

9:00am Fri 30 May 14

skeptik says...

Odd how the H & SE never take councils to task over dangerous pavements - some resemble a relief map of the Himalayas.
Odd how the H & SE never take councils to task over dangerous pavements - some resemble a relief map of the Himalayas. skeptik
  • Score: 4

1:02pm Fri 30 May 14

Zexagon says...

Niel wrote:
On call 24/365, but I'd rather not have to work weekends too often!

Accident investigation is a bloody business, not just in the literal sense.
It's just that my mate refurbishes pubs and regularly gets checked that his tools are pat tested, safety wear, clean site bla bla bla. But they don't come round weekends. So you can wear flip flops on Saturdays and Sundays if you wish
[quote][p][bold]Niel[/bold] wrote: On call 24/365, but I'd rather not have to work weekends too often! Accident investigation is a bloody business, not just in the literal sense.[/p][/quote]It's just that my mate refurbishes pubs and regularly gets checked that his tools are pat tested, safety wear, clean site bla bla bla. But they don't come round weekends. So you can wear flip flops on Saturdays and Sundays if you wish Zexagon
  • Score: 4

2:05pm Fri 30 May 14

Gristy says...

After the hearing Health and Safety Executive Inspector Frank Flannery said: “The photographic evidence speaks for itself in terms of the risks created. Anyone can see the system of work is plain wrong, so why a supposedly competent roofer chose to work in this way is anyone's guess.
Hey Ho, off we go again, Nanny state trafficked by people like this Frank Flannery. How on earth did we end up with a Nanny State?
As far as i am concerned 'Elf and bloody Safety" should be closed down and the combatants transferred to a bomb disposal outfit or mine disposal outfit then, they would learn about danger and its consequences and learn not to make stupid half baked comments about a worker up his ladder. As for the people who "could have been "injured" by falling whatever, well they should **** well look where they are going and, if you walk under a ladder and if something falls on you it is your own **** fault!
After the hearing Health and Safety Executive Inspector Frank Flannery said: “The photographic evidence speaks for itself in terms of the risks created. Anyone can see the system of work is plain wrong, so why a supposedly competent roofer chose to work in this way is anyone's guess. Hey Ho, off we go again, Nanny state trafficked by people like this Frank Flannery. How on earth did we end up with a Nanny State? As far as i am concerned 'Elf and bloody Safety" should be closed down and the combatants transferred to a bomb disposal outfit or mine disposal outfit then, they would learn about danger and its consequences and learn not to make stupid half baked comments about a worker up his ladder. As for the people who "could have been "injured" by falling whatever, well they should **** well look where they are going and, if you walk under a ladder and if something falls on you it is your own **** fault! Gristy
  • Score: -4

2:42pm Fri 30 May 14

Niel says...

skeptik wrote:
Odd how the H & SE never take councils to task over dangerous pavements - some resemble a relief map of the Himalayas.
Nothing to with the HSE, the councils own 'environmental health officers' are the enforcement officials who should be dealing with this, however as they are employed by the same council as the area they work in, few dare to rock the boat...
[quote][p][bold]skeptik[/bold] wrote: Odd how the H & SE never take councils to task over dangerous pavements - some resemble a relief map of the Himalayas.[/p][/quote]Nothing to with the HSE, the councils own 'environmental health officers' are the enforcement officials who should be dealing with this, however as they are employed by the same council as the area they work in, few dare to rock the boat... Niel
  • Score: 3

8:53pm Fri 30 May 14

bbirty says...

Its all too easy to criticise and I'm not suggesting that what the roofer did was right but this holier than thou attitude from Frank Flannery stinks, it's rude and condescending, Frank doesn't have to climb ladders to make a living, he can sit at his desk and criticise. Also the fine stinks. The guy should receive some form of awareness course, maybe like the driving awareness you take for minor driving offences. Whack him with a huge fine, that'll teach him, honestly I find it ridiculous. He didn't harm anyone, nor himself, how about some sort of education on where he went wrong instead of burdening him with a financial penalty that will probably mean he has to cut more corners to make up his losses.
I'm all for safe methods of work but sometimes health and safety is more a burden than it should be!
Its all too easy to criticise and I'm not suggesting that what the roofer did was right but this holier than thou attitude from Frank Flannery stinks, it's rude and condescending, Frank doesn't have to climb ladders to make a living, he can sit at his desk and criticise. Also the fine stinks. The guy should receive some form of awareness course, maybe like the driving awareness you take for minor driving offences. Whack him with a huge fine, that'll teach him, honestly I find it ridiculous. He didn't harm anyone, nor himself, how about some sort of education on where he went wrong instead of burdening him with a financial penalty that will probably mean he has to cut more corners to make up his losses. I'm all for safe methods of work but sometimes health and safety is more a burden than it should be! bbirty
  • Score: 1

1:46pm Tue 3 Jun 14

andysaints007 says...

Zexagon wrote:
The ladders not fully extended. Got another 4 possibly 5 rungs to go
Idiot
[quote][p][bold]Zexagon[/bold] wrote: The ladders not fully extended. Got another 4 possibly 5 rungs to go[/p][/quote]Idiot andysaints007
  • Score: 0

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