Working at height presents many dangers not least that someone may fall and injure or die as a result, often though, the hazards of falling objects are not considered, neither is the distance that any falling object may travel on its descent. All areas where items may fall should be adequately barriered off below the position of working at height, to prevent falling objects becoming a danger to others, clearly if items can be tethered or secured to ensure that they do not fall in the first instance then these controls would be considered stronger.
Recently a Harrow contractor ended-up in court after poorly secured panelling fell from a building under refurbishment and injured two passers-by.
Brendan Flynn Construction Limited was subcontracted to carry out carpentry work on a residential project in Crawley.
Crawley Magistrates’ Court heard how the cladding the firm was using on Peglar House was not effectively secured, which resulted in it being blown off the building to the pavement below.
One piece struck a pensioner on the ankle, causing serious injury. The woman, who was in her eighties, was hit so hard by the cladding it almost severed her foot.
Another piece of cladding hit a passing man causing bruising from wrist to shoulder.
A number of vehicles in a nearby supermarket car park and busy road were also struck on the same day, 3 November 2009.
HSE told the court that Brendan Flynn Construction Limited had failed to use the correct nails to safely secure the cladding.
HSE Inspector Russell Beckett said: ”Brendan Flynn Construction Limited used a specialist cladding product but did not take the time to ensure workers were using the correct fittings.
“It is basic practice for a carpentry firm to get this right. The incident had horrendous consequences, which could have been far worse. However, that will be little consolation to the injured parties.”
Brendan Flynn Construction Limited, of Watford Road, Northwood, Harrow was fined a total of £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,760.