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Glazing firm fined £850,000 after worker’s ladder fall

12 April 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

Image courtesy of Dreamstime

Glazing firm Safestyle UK has been fined £850,000 after a window installer fell from a ladder, breaking his kneecap.

The accident happened on 1 March last year when the worker’s ladder slipped while he was attempting to install a first-floor rear bedroom window at a property on Cemetery Road, Doncaster.

Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard how the ladder was not footed or tied.

The window installer fell from a height of over three metres and subsequently required surgery on his knee.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the company’s system for planning work at height was inadequate and that it failed to ensure work was carried out in a safe manner.

Windows were found not to be routinely installed from inside and ladders were used in a way that “constituted serious risk”.

There was also no system of monitoring or supervision in place and operatives were left to their own devices.

H.P.A.S. Ltd, trading as Safestyle UK, of Style House, Eldon Place, Bradford, pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £850,000 with £1,083 in costs.

HSE inspector Stuart Whitesmith said: “This incident could easily have been prevented had the company implemented reasonably practicable precautions.

“Such precautions include having effective and enforced safe systems of work, whereby windows are installed internally where possible, or by using suitable access solutions which provide edge protection, and having a formal system in place to ensure works are appropriately supervised.”

Comments

Whilst poor safety management, it is clear the UK govt are now reliant on income from fines.

Andrew Evans, 12 April 2018

This accident is not uncommon. We have recently had new double glazing windows installed, most windows fitted from inside, however, one window fitted by use of a ladder, over a porch, not footed or tied, on a pattern imprinted concrete driveway. My wife and I passed by underneath moments before crash bang and the installer was on the ground due to ladder slippage. He blamed the pattern imprinted concrete saying these surfaces were a nightmare. Lucky he was only shocked and bruised but this type of accident is going on all the time, due to time given to installers to complete their work. HSE are quick to prosecute, but very slow to educate. Asbestos another example of HSE prosecutions but NO public education. Maybe it's due to being self funding!

Graham Skeer, 12 April 2018

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