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Tuesday, 20 August

Window Wallies Whacked in Wallet

A company which manufactured and installed windows has been fined £36,000 after carrying out work in the West End of London with no measures to prevent the workers falling eight metres and after dropping part of a window on to the public area below.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard Ideal Glazing (Euro) carried out window installation work at Aldford House, Park Street, London, between 19-20 January 2015 that put its workers and members of the public at risk of suffering serious injuries or a fatality.

HSE carried out an investigation into the work after a member of the public provided photos of workers leaning out of window openings 8m above the ground. They also provided a video showing the workers dropping part of a window which fell to the ground and missed a nearby pedestrian. The work at Aldford House was halted when HSE served a Prohibition Notice (PN).

 

No formal training

The company had failed to provide equipment such as scaffolding which would have prevented the workers and window falling. None of the workers had received any formal training and no one was appointed to supervise the work.

The risks associated with the work had not been sufficiently assessed. The court heard the company had failed to invest in equipment for working at height and had a health and management system which relied entirely on the company’s MD, Rashinda Joshi, despite his lack of relevant training and experience.

 

Previous advice ignored

The court heard the company had previously been given advice by HSE in connection with work at height and that an audit by Ideal Glazing’s bank had previously identified a range of relevant health and safety failings. The court heard that neither written warning was heeded by the firm.

Ideal Glazing (Euro) from Southall, Middlesex, pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 6(3) and 10(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £36,000 and ordered to pay £1,386 in costs.

“People should be able to walk down a pavement without being exposed to the risk of a heavy window falling eight-metres on to them,” stated  Andrew Verrall-Withers, Inspector, HSE, after the hearing: “The company’s standards were appalling,and this was particularly unacceptable as previous warnings had been blatantly disregarded.”

Mr Verrall-Withers condemned the absence of equipment such as scaffolding and that it was vital that law abiding companies had confidence they would not lose work to others that underquoted them because they took shortcuts at the expense of safety.

“Thanks to the member of the public who alerted us, we were able to avoid the workers or any pedestrians being injured or killed, he acknowledged. “We encourage people to report unsafe work to us so we can act to protect workers and the public.”

Picture:   Where's Wally? The shocking sight of a dangerous commercial window installation by Ideal Glazing (Euro) that was spotted by a member of the public who informed HSE

Article written by Mike Gannon

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