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    WORKMAN FELL FROM SUSPENDED ACCESS EQUIPMENT

    Health Board and maintenance firm director prosecuted

    A Cardiff-based health board and the director of a maintenance company have been sentenced after a worker fell from height, suffering life-changing injuries at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff in September 2016.

    Cardiff Crown Court heard how the injured man was undertaking window cleaning from suspended access equipment when he fell from the end of the beam supporting him. There was no end stop fitted and he suffered significant and life-changing injuries including a broken back.

    HSE investigators found that the maintenance company director failed to effectively plan this work at height task.

    He did not undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment or ensure that a safe system of work was in place for cleaning the windows. He made no arrangements to ensure the task was effectively supervised and also failed to ensure that there were suitable trained staff, safe equipment and a suitable rescue plan in place.

    Client failed to manage contractors

    The HSE investigation also found Cardiff and Vale University Health Board failed to effectively manage their contractors. Suitable checks where not made to ensure the contractor was competent to carry out such work or ensure a suitable risk assessment or safe system of work was in place.

    The health board provided the beam and some lifting equipment used but failed to ensure it had been examined to ensure it was safe for use.

    • Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board – of The University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 and has been fined £400,000 and ordered to pay £15,845.90 in costs.
    • Wayne Daniel Rees – of Gallamuir Road, Cardiff pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and received a six month jail sentence suspended for 12 months and has been disqualified from being a company director for five years.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gethyn Jones commented:

    “Dutyholders must ensure that all work at height activities are properly planned, appropriately supervised and undertaken in a safe manner. It is essential that companies employing contractors do not simply rely on the knowledge and experience of the contractor but make reasonably practicable checks themselves to ensure work is safely completed.”

     

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