Cleaning companies fined for putting workers’ lives at risk

A property and cleaning company has been fined for breaking the law that protects people working at height.

Turbo Property and Cleaning Services Ltd in Sheffield was issued with a prohibition Notice in November 2014 after an employee was found to be working on a fragile roof with no protection measures to prevent them from falling.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after it was subsequently found to have breached the conditions of the notice.

Sheffield magistrates heard that the company had breached Section 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Section 33(1)(c) and 33(2) of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for contravening the prohibition notice.

The company, which did not attend the 20 July hearing, was found guilty in its absence and fined £2,000 for the breach of the work at height regulations and £4,000 for the breach of prohibition notice, and also ordered to pay £853.70 costs.

Earlier in the month, a Stafford window cleaning business and its sole director were both fined after a window cleaner was seen standing on guttering outside a balcony parapet wall on the third floor of a property in the town. An HSE investigation found that there was no suitable edge protection or other appropriate safety measures in place.

Stafford magistrates fined both Brian Stubbs and Brian Stubbs and Company £660 after Mr Stubbs pleaded guilty to breaching 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the company admitted a breach of breaching 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Mr Stubbs was also ordered to pay £867 costs and the company £846 costs.

After the case HSE inspector Katherine Blunt said: “This could very easily have been a fatality. They didn’t have to do the work this way. As advertised on the company’s website, a ‘reach and wash’ system could have been used, which allows the cleaning of windows up to 65 feet.”

Wherever employees are working, employers are legally required to protect their health, safety and welfare, along with that of suppliers, customers and members of the public by assessing risks of injury or damage to health and putting in place systems for managing and controlling these.

As well as ensuring that employees and others are kept safe, investing in health and safety protects businesses against the time and cost involved of correcting breaches, the expense of a potential prosecution and damage to business reputation.

For more information on our health and safety services, please contact Lara Murray for compliance matters or for representation in relation to enforcement action or prosecutions, please contact Jeremy Sirrell.