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Initiating ‘Stop work’ authority could have prevented window cleaner from falling from height

  • What happened?

    A worker was cleaning windows at height.

    He was descending after finishing the job when he fell 2m (6.5ft) to the ground.

    The worker suffered minor hand injuries.

    Facilities management stopped the work.

    What happened - icon
  • Why did it happen?

    Motorised cradle used for window cleaning at height was out of order.

    Worker proceeded to clean using a shorter working rope.

    Supervisor did not prevent the window cleaner from starting work.

    Worker ignored his supervisor’s advice to connect to the neighbouring worker’s safety line.

    No supervision from contractor or company.

    Why did it happen - icon
  • What did they learn?

    All workers should be aware of the company’s stop work policy and encouraged to apply it.

    Adequate supervision should be in place for high-risk activities.

    Risk assessments should include all stages of the task and specific safeguards for each of them (preparation, execution etc.).

    • Safeguards for risks in the preparation phase might not be applicable to the same risks during the execution phase.
    What learn - icon
  • Ask yourself or your crew

    What should they have done differently?

    How would you ‘stop work’ if you observed someone working unsafely?

    • What if they were your superior?
    • Would you feel encouraged to challenge them? If not, what would make you feel encouraged?

    How do you know that risk assessments fully cover all the aspects of your job?

    What measures do we have on our site to prevent this from happening? How can we improve?

    Ask your crew - icon
Published on 07/01/21 1028 Views 1 likes

While descending from cleaning windows at height, a worker fell from a height of around 2m (6.5ft). He received a minor hand injury.