Two poultry firms and a building contractor have been convicted and fined for allowing their staff to work at height without proper safety precautions.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought proceedings on GW Padley Poultry, Harlow Bros, builders K&M Tomlinson and Philip Bates following inspectors finding repeated non-compliances on a number of visits. Fines and costs for the five prosecuted totalled more than £80,000.

Lincoln Crown Court heard that, on 13 March 2012, the HSE visited the site and found workers operating at height with no edge protection or scaffolding in place. Inspectors served a prohibition notice to K&M Tomlinson preventing further work on the roof without adequate safety precautions in place.

See also: Staying safe at harvest time

On revisiting the site three days later, the inspector found the roof had been completed, but with no edge protection evident. On his return later that day, workers were again found to be on the roof. Further notices were issued to GW Padley Poultry, Harlow Bros and Mr Bates, preventing work on the roof until a competent site manager was appointed.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Martin Waring said: “In this case there was clear evidence of a very poor attitude to health and safety generally on this site. Each of the defendants had clear duties to ensure the safety of the workers, however these were repeatedly ignored.

“Working at height poses very obvious dangers, but our visits uncovered a catalogue of safety breaches which could have led to a fatal or very serious injury for a worker had they fallen.

“There was a continued and deliberate neglect of duties by particular parties in this case; and directors who disregard their responsibilities will be held personally accountable.”

The court heard that both Harlow Bros and Philip Bates have previous convictions related to working at height.