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CROSS Safety Report

Collapse of domestic glass balustrade due to inadequate fixings

Report ID: 756 Published: 1 July 2018 Region: CROSS-UK

This report is over 2 years old

Please be aware that it might contain information that is no longer up to date. We keep all reports available for historic reference and as learning aids.


A firm was asked to provide professional advice regarding the replacement of a glass balustrade which had collapsed.

Key Learning Outcomes

For construction professionals:

  • Quality assurance on site can help to ensure that glass balustrades are installed correctly and are not overlooked as a secondary element    

  • Consider introducing a quality control procedure for the inspection of safety critical connections for glass balustrades to ensure they are installed as per the specification

For all built environment professionals:

  • If readers are unsure if an incident should be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) they can contact the HSE Concerns and Advice team who will be able to advise

Full Report

Find out more about the Full Report

The Full Report below has been submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s experience. The text has been edited for clarity and to ensure anonymity and confidentiality by removing any identifiable details. If you would like to know more about our secure reporting process or submit a report yourself, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.


A firm was asked to provide professional advice regarding the replacement of a glass balustrade which had collapsed. The balustrade was at second floor level, free standing in a prefabricated metal channel section which was inadequately fixed down to softwood decking boards (Figure 1). It is a single occupancy domestic property and all glass and debris fell within the grounds of the property. No one was injured. The reporter asks if the firm have an obligation to report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or any other organisation?

Figure 1: rusted screws used to fix balustrade support rail

Expert Panel Comments

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Expert Panels comment on the reports we receive. They use their experience to help you understand what can be learned from the reports. If you would like to know more, please visit the CROSS-UK Expert Panels page.

The cause of collapse was probably down to inadequacies at the time of construction. The question is whether there is a need to report such an event. RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the responsible person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses) to the HSE. 

It is unclear from the report whether RIDDOR applies here and whether the reporter or their firm falls into one of the above categories. If unsure readers can contact HSE Concerns and Advice team who will be able to advise.

Whatever the legal requirements, CROSS wants reports on all collapses and near misses so that information can be built up on the types of problems that are occurring in buildings and structures.

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