26 February 2016
Company Fined for Dangerous Window Installation Work
A company has been fined £36,000 for carrying out dangerous window installation work eight metres above a central London street.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how a pedestrian filmed workers from Ideal Glazing (Euro) Ltd carrying out work at Aldford House, Park Street, London between 19 and 20 January 2015.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation after the video together with photos of workers from the company leaning unprotected out of window openings with no safety measures anywhere in sight.
Ideal Glazing (Euro) Ltd, which manufactured and installed windows, was found to have put their workers and members of the public at risk of serious injury or death by carrying out the work with no fall prevention measures in place.
The company failed to put scaffolding up at the site to prevent employees, equipment and windows from falling, and incredibly, none of the staff on site were supervised or had received any formal training.
Film given to the HSE showed the workers dropping part of a window onto the pavement below where it narrowly missed a nearby pedestrian. The work at Aldford House was halted when the HSE served a Prohibition Notice.
The court heard the company failed to conduct a sufficient risk assessment before the work and failed to invest in equipment appropriate for working at height. The court was also told that Ideal Glazing (Euro) Ltd had previously been given HSE advice about working at height which they failed to heed plus an audit by the company’s bank had identified a range of relevant health and safety failings.
Ideal Glazing (Euro) Ltd of Southall, Middlesex, was fined £36,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,386 after pleading guilty to breaches of Regulation 6(3) and 10(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
There is no doubt that the evidence provided to the HSE showed that this company put the lives of its workers and members of the public at risk of serious injury or worse. It goes without saying that people should be able to walk along a pavement without having to worry about being struck by a falling window.
Their conduct in terms of how they took short cuts with safety and failed to properly risk assess the installation work to ensure the protection of their staff and the public was unacceptably dangerous, particularly given that they appear to have simply disregarded the previous warnings they were issued with.
The most common causes of fatal work accidents are falls from height, contact with moving machinery or being struck by vehicles. Working at height is obviously inherently dangerous, whether it involves ladders, platforms or scaffolding and it is crucial that employers do everything they can to ensure that all such work is planned and supervised and that those tasked with working at height are trained with the skills needed to carry it out. It is equally vital that employers ensure their staff are provided with the right equipment and any such equipment is in good working order.
Matthew Tomlinson is a senior personal injury solicitor specialising in work accident compensation claims for Slater and Gordon in Sheffield.
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