Wednesday 24 April 2013

Door company owner and fitter prosecuted after falling roller shutter door death

A Yorkshire farmer died when he was crushed under a half-tonne roller shutter door that had been badly installed, a court heard. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought a prosecution for safety breaches against the owner of the firm who supplied the door and the fitter who installed it.

At Bradford Crown Court, the owner of Easydoor, Paul Halliwell, accepted he had not taken notice of guidance issued by the Door & Hardware Federation. He admitted a single charge under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He has since wound up his company. Fitter David Whittaker also pleaded guilty to one charge under the same legislation. 

The court heard that Robert Ireland, 71, died from multiple injuries at the farm near Malton, when a roller shutter door that had recently been fitted fell from its ‘flimsy’ mountings. The entire door, weighing 424kg, fell some 4.5m to the ground, pinning him underneath.

The HSE found that the door fell because there was a mismatch between the length of the door barrel and the distance between the supporting brackets. As a result, the end of the barrel that came free from the mountings first was only held in place by a few millimetres.

The installation problem was compounded by flimsy brackets supporting the shutter that could be easily deflected outwards by several millimetres due to the stresses created as the door was operated.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Geoff Fletcher said: "This type of incident, where the entire shutter door has fallen because the door was not securely fastened to its mountings, has occurred before and resulted in serious injuries. Installers should have the appropriate design and installation considerations to prevent it happening.

"There are several relatively simple methods that could have been used to prevent this door from coming loose from its mountings. Such methods are well known within the industry and specialist guidance on the matter is published by them and is widely available."

The DHF guide on restraining roller shutter door barrels, which is endorsed by the HSE, can be downloaded from the DHF website, .

Paul Halliwell was given 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay £2,000 toward costs after being found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. David Whittaker was also given 200 hours’ community service and told to pay £2,000 towards costs for breaching Section 7(a) of the same act.

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1 comment:

Mike Seary said...

It was horrible that this unfortunate accident had to happen because of poor installation. The motivation of profit coming first before paramount customer safety is a horrible business practice that never pays off well.