Ladder fall: £850k fine after window installer breaks knee cap

A window installer fell three metres from an unsecured ladder, breaking his knee cap, an investigation has found.

The accident happened when the worker was attempting to install a first-floor rear bedroom window of a property on Cemetery Road, Doncaster.


Employed by H.P.A.S Limited (trading as Safestyle UK) at the time of the accident on 1 March, 2017, the operative was climbing a ladder that was not footed or tied and it slipped. He fell and sustained injuries which required surgery.

The HSE’s investigation found:

• the company’s system for planning work at height was inadequate in that it failed to ensure that work was carried out in a safe manner
• windows were not routinely installed from the inside
• ladders were used in a way that constituted serious risk
• there was no system of monitoring or supervision in place
• operatives were left to their own devices.


At Sheffield Magistrates’ Court , H.P.A.S. Limited trading as Safestyle UK, of Style House, Eldon Place, Bradford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £850,000 with £1,083 in costs.

Commenting after the hearing, HSE inspector Stuart Whitesmith said: “This incident could easily have been prevented had the company implemented reasonably practicable precautions.

“Such precautions include having effective and enforced safe systems of work, whereby windows are installed internally where possible, or by using suitable access solutions which provide edge protection, and having a formal system in place to ensure works are appropriately supervised.’’