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DOOR SUPPLIER AND INSTALLER TOGETHER IN COURT

Company and employee both prosecuted over sliding door death

Easydoor (Paul Halliwell T/A) and fitter David Whittaker have been prosecuted after a farmer died when he was crushed beneath a recently installed roller shutter door in October 2010. Robert Ireland, aged 71, died from multiple injuries when the door fell from ‘flimsy’ mountings.

Bradford Crown Court heard that the roller shutter door was installed by Mr Whittaker in July 2010 in the grain store at Manor Wold Farm.

The door was in place for some four months and used around dozen times before the incident. Mr Ireland was opening the door when it came detached from the mountings and fell some 4.5m to the ground pinning him to the ground.

HSE investigators found a ‘mismatch’ between the length of the door barrel and the distance between the supporting brackets such that the end of the barrel that came free from the mountings first was held in place by a few millimetres.

The installation problem was compounded by flimsy brackets supporting the shutter which could be deflected easily outwards by several millimetres due to the stresses created as the door was operated.

Simple methods could have prevented door coming loose

Business owner, Paul Halliwell, of was given 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay £2,000 toward prosecution costs for breaching HSW Act Section 3(1).

Fitter David Whittaker of Hyde was also given 200 hours’ community service and told to pay £2,000 towards costs for breaching HSW Section 7(a) for failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work.

After the hearing, Inspector Geoff Fletcher said:

“This was a tragic incident that was a sudden and devastating shock for Mr Ireland’s wife and family”

This type of incident, where the entire shutter door has fallen because the door was not securely fastened to its mountings, has occurred before and resulted in serious injuries. Installers should have the appropriate design and installation considerations to prevent it happening.

There are several relatively simple methods that could have been used to prevent this door from coming loose from its mountings. Such methods are well known within the industry and specialist guidance on the matter is published by them and is widely available.”

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