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DHF urges adherence to the law following a ladder incident


Tamworth-based trade association, the Door & Hardware Federation (DHF), is  urging its members, particularly those in the Industrial Door Group, to ensure it is following the ‘letter of the law’ following an accident involving a fall from a ladder and subsequent HSE prosecution.  

The incident took place on 28th July 2021, when Andrew Smith, an employee of Profascias Limited, was working at height at Park Lane Primary School in Tilehurst, Reading.  The ladder Mr Smith had been working from against the school wall slipped, causing the 53-year-old to fall three metres to the ground.  He fractured his left femur, left elbow, left arm and pelvis  and spent 16 days in hospital, undergoing surgery to add a bolt to his hip and metal plate to his arm.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation that followed discovered that the planning of the work at height by Profascias Limited and its director, John Nolan, had been inadequate and a safe platform from which to work, such as a properly erected scaffold, should have been provided, as workers needed both hands to carry out the work and could not therefore work safely from a ladder.

John Nolan pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by virtue of Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work 1974, at the hearing at Slough Magistrates’ Court on 18th December 2023.  He was handed a 12-month community order and was ordered to pay £1,000 in costs.  The company was also fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and injuries in the UK and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“Although not directly linked to our industry, this case does highlight what can occur if safety regulations are not adhered to and we would stress our members who routinely working from ladders to take note of HSE’s Work at Height guidance,”  says DHF’s Commercial Director, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens. 

“The purpose of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 is to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height”  she continues.  “If you are an employer or you control work at height (for example facilities managers or building owners who may contract others to work at height) the regulations apply to you.”

In line with HSE regulations, employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.   This includes, for example, using the correct type of equipment for working at height.  

“Employees have general legal duties to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions, and to co-operate with their employer to enable their health and safety duties and requirements are to be complied with,” concludes Patricia.

For further guidance regarding working at height, visit:

February 2024

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Door & Hardware Federation, The Barn, Shuttington Fields Farm, Main Road, Shuttington, Tamworth, B79 0HA
Registered in England No.2537077
VAT No. 240112234
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