Health board fined £400k over UHW window cleaner fall

A health board has been fined £400,000 after a window cleaner broke his back when he fell from the fourth floor of a hospital.

Christopher Rees, 46, fell while cleaning windows at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, in September 2016.

He plunged more than 50ft (15.2m) from the suspended platform because there was no “end stop” fitted to a beam.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board offered its apologies to Mr Rees and said it “fully accepts” the fine.

Mr Rees, of Cardiff, suffered “significant and life-changing injuries” when he fell from the beam supporting him while cleaning the Women’s Services Unit.

The health board provided the beam but failed to ensure that it had been examined for safety, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

An investigation found the health board failed to undertake suitable checks to ensure the company was competent to carry out the work.

It pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety At Work Act and was ordered to pay £15,846 costs alongside the fine.

The investigation also found his employer – W D Rees Maintenance – had failed to effectively plan the cleaning.

Company director Wayne Daniel Rees, 55, of Gallamuir Road, Tremorfa, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to breaching Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was banned from being a company director for five years.