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March 13, 2013

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Double-glazing firm guilty of poorly planned lifting op

A double-glazing manufacturer has been found guilty of safety failings following an incident in which sheets of glass fell on two workers.

Justo Llerena, 60, and a colleague were working at Clearglaze Ltd’s factory on Elms Farm Industrial Estate in Bedford, on 1 September 2011. They were attaching a hook on a pendant crane to the top of an A-frame, in order to lift large sheets of glass.

While they were attaching the hook, the A-frame toppled over, causing the glass to crash down on top of them. The glass shattered and Mr Llerena suffered a cut to his elbow, which caused nerve damage. He required surgery but there were complications and he continues to be in pain. He has been unable to return to work owing to his injuries. His colleague suffered a laceration to his index finger, which prevented him from returning to work for ten weeks.

The company failed to put a proper lifting plan in place and the A-frame wasn’t secured. HSE inspector Karl Howes told SHP a bracket should have been fitted to the wall to hold the frame in place. He said: “This was a serious incident leading to Mr Llerena suffering painful, life-changing injuries and his colleague also being badly injured. It was also avoidable.

“Any work which involves the lifting of sheets of glass must be suitably planned and executed to prevent the glass falling, or shattering. Clearglaze should have ensured this planning was done prior to the work being carried out.”

Clearglaze appeared at Bedford Magistrates’ Court on 11 March and was found guilty of breaching reg.8(1) of LOLER 1998, for failing to properly plan a lifting operation. It was fined £5000 and ordered to pay £8592 in costs.

In mitigation, the firm said the men had been properly trained and should have known it was an unsafe method of work. It has subsequently provided additional training for staff on the use of the crane. It has also fitted a bracket to hold the frame.

Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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