On 1st March 2017, a window installer working for H.P.A.S. Limited, trading as Safestyle UK, was attempting to install a first-floor rear bedroom window at a property on Cemetery Road, Doncaster, when the ladder he was climbing slipped. The ladder was not footed or tied and the operative fell from a height of over three metres, sustaining a broken knee cap which required surgery.
An investigation by the HSE found the company’s system for planning work at height was inadequate in that it failed to ensure that work was carried out in a safe manner. Windows were found to be not routinely installed from the inside and ladders were used in a way that constituted serious risk. Additionally, there was no system of monitoring or supervision in place and operatives were left to their own devices.
H.P.A.S. Limited trading as Safestyle UK, of Style House, Eldon Place, Bradford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £850,000 with £1,083 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, 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.”
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