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CLIENT JOINTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR WINDOW CLEANER SAFETY

Building owner fined following fall of cleaning contractor employee

Lincoln College has today been fined £1,500 after a window cleaner fell 4m suffering broken ribs and a serious back injury.

James Theaker aged 50, from Lincoln, was employed by A Nicoll & Son Ltd, when he was contracted to clean windows at Lincoln College on 4 November 2008.

Mr Theaker accessed the roof of the main reception building using a ladder. He fell whilst leaning against the building to clean nearby windows.

He spent a week in hospital and off work for months and can now only carry out restricted duties.

Lincoln College pleaded guilty to breaching the MHSW Regulations 1999 by failing to conduct a sufficient risk assessment. The college was also ordered to pay £9,500 towards prosecution costs.

The prosecution follows an early hearing at which window cleaning contractor A Nicoll & Son Ltd pleaded guilty for its role in the incident and was ordered to pay over £5,ooo in fines and prosecution costs.

Judge points out duties of building occupiers

District Judge Richard Blake said: “It is important that those who occupy buildings and employ contractors assess the risks to ensure best work practices are adhered to.”

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Judith McNulty-Green said: “Mr Theaker has suffered life-changing injuries as a result of his fall. Lincoln College had a legal duty to check its contractors had proper procedures in place but failed to do so.

“Employers and organisations that hire contract staff have a joint responsibility to ensure the safety of all staff who work on site, to avoid serious incidents such as this.”

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