A health board based in Cardiff and the director of a maintenance company have been sentenced today, after a worker fell from a height resulting in life-changing injuries.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that on the 22nd September 2016, an employee for W D Rees Maintenance Ltd, named Christopher Rees was undertaking window cleaning at the Women’s Services Unit of the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. He fell from the end of the beam as he was using suspended equipment, as there was no end stop fitted, suffering life changing injuries including a broken back.
The Health and safety executive led an investigation and found that the director of w d rees maintenance ltd, Wayne Daniel, had not planned effectively the task of working at a height. he had not taken suitable and sufficient risk assessments and had not ensured that a safe system was put in place for cleaning the windows. he made no arrangements to ensure the task was effectively supervised and also failed to make sure that there were trained staff and safe equipment.
They had also found that the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board failed to manage their contractors effectively. There were no suitable checks to ensure that W D Rees Maintenance Ltd were competent to carry out the work or make sure a risk assessment was in place. Although they had provided the beam, a piece of lifting equipment, which was used to support Christopher Rees, however filed to ensure it had been properly examined to check if it was safe enough for use.
After pleading guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974, The Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board of The Univeristy Hospital of Wales was 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.”