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Health & Safety

Tuesday, 30th September, 2014

The recent death of a six year-old has reiterated the need to ensure that fireplaces and stone surrounds are properly fitted. Isabella Pritchard died after the mantelpiece on a fireplace in her family home collapsed on to her.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) advises that if the individual components are not designed to incorporate or include adequate fixings or if they are not installed correctly, it is possible for the mantel shelf to detach and to topple over. The toppling of an inadequately installed mantel shelf can be triggered by passive weight such as heavy items stored on the mantel or by a person pulling down or hanging from the projecting edge of the mantel.

The HSE said that designers, manufacturers and suppliers of stone or artificial stone fireplace surrounds need to provide adequate fixings and fixing options as well as detailed instructions on their safe assembly. Installers need to ensure that the fireplaces are safely installed so as to prevent subsequent failure and potential injuries. Products used to bed, secure and point fireplace surrounds need to be checked to ensure they are suitable and being used correctly. 


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