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Health board fined £400k after window cleaner plunged more than 50ft

Health board fined £400k after window cleaner plunged more than 50ft

23 July 2019

A window cleaner was using abseilling equipment to clean windows at Cardiff and Vale University Hospital when he fell from the end of the beam that was supporting him as there was no 'end stop' fitted. As a result, he suffered 'significant and life-changing injuries'.

A full investigation into the incident took place and a court heard that the individuals' employer had failed to effectively plan the job, and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board had also failed to undertake suitable checks to ensure that the company was competent to carry out the work. The Health Board also provided the beam but had failed to ensure that it had been examined for safety.

As a result the Health Board pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and were fined £400,000 as well as £15,846 in costs. 

The window cleaning company pleaded guilty to breaching Work at Height Regulations 2005, and their company director was subsequently banned from being a company director for five years.

Worker dies after falling from scaffolding in Nantwich

A 53-year-old construction worker died last month after falling from scaffolding whilst working on a housing development. Work was suspended after the incident and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched an inviestigation. 

Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries

Both of these tragic accidents serve to remind us of the importance of using appropriate equipment and safety techniques whilst working at height.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 were introduced in a bid to prevent death and injury caused by falls from height, therefore minimising risks to workers. Roof work is particularly high risk and falls from roofs, through fragile roofs and fragile roof lights are some of the most common causes of workplace death and serious injury. Many people think that Working at Height incidents only happen in construction but these accidents can also occur when roof repair work or cleaning is being carried out on, for example, factories, warehouses, hospitals, farm buildings and many other types of building.

Click here to download Working at Height: A Brief Guide from the HSE

Work at Height Regulations 2005

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 applies to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. Employers, facilities managers, building owners and anyone else that controls work at height can be held responsible should an accident occur. 

Businesses can minimise risks from Work at Height activities by remaining compliant with legislation

Latest statistics from the HSE reveal that, although falls from height are reducing, they are still one of the most common causes of injuries to employees and account for around 29% of fatalities in the workplace. 

One of the best ways for a business to minimise its risks from Work at Height activities is to remain compliant with the legislation - and for many businesses this means training their employees to a high standard.

Click here to download the free Pocket Guide to Working at Height

High quality competency training

Develop Training are experts at providing Work at Height training and offer several different training courses designed to give learners the knowledge to safely supervise working at height on masts and towers, produce risk assessments and recognise the potential dangers of working at height:

Safe Working at Height (HS14)

A 1 day course to recognise the dangers of working at height.

Supervising Working at Height (AP23)

A 3 day course for supervising the requirements for working at height on masts and towers.

Other courses which may be of interest include:

IOSH Managing Safely (HSM1)

IOSH Managing Safely Refresher (HSM2)

IOSH Working Safely (HS2)

Still have questions? Not sure if you need training, or which course is the best fit for you?

Give our friendly Customer Service team a call on 0800 876 6708 and they'll be able to advise you on all the options. Don't forget, we also offer bespoke training packages that are tailored directly to your organisations' specific requirements.

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