Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) has now admitted a member of staff WAS injured after a glass panel fell from an overhead canopy at its HQ.
Previously the authority said it ‘understood’ nobody was hurt during two separate instances of the heavy panels falling to the ground at the iconic Chester building that was only completed in 2009.
But CWaC agreed to look at the matter again after The Chronicle learned a woman suffered a cut leg during the first occurrence on November 4, which happened at 8.05am, affecting a canopy on a pedestrian walkway circling the building.
Spokeswoman Rachel Ashley said: “A Cheshire West and Chester Council member of staff was walking below the panel and was hit with particles of glass. The glass was swept up and removed and the area was cordoned off with appropriate barriers.”
She confirmed that 'as there had been an injury’, the incident was reported in line with internal health and safety procedures.
Mrs Ashley explained: “It should be pointed out that this glass is designed to shatter into very small pieces in the same way that vehicle windscreens do.”
But the glass had shattered ‘without any visible reason’.
The incident was reported to the building owner and sub-contractor High Access whose report, and a subsequent investigation by the architectural consultants who designed the canopies, determined the glass panels met current British Standards and were fit for purpose.
The neighbouring Abode hotel, whose entrance includes a glass canopy, was also informed.
But a second incident occurred overnight on November 18 involving the glass canopy above the main entrance to HQ. Fortunately this happened before any staff had arrived on site. Barriers were set up around the canopy areas with staff and visitors were directed to a temporary entrance at the rear of the building.
This time a decision was made to remove the remaining glass panels in the two canopies where the two incidents had occurred so they could be tested by the glass manufacturer.
CWaC previously said all panels had been removed from the building at this point; 'to ensure the safety of our staff and members of the public'. But The Chronicle pointed out that panels had been left in a third canopy.
Spokeswoman Mrs Ashley commented: “The glass in this canopy has been left in place following on from the advice provided by High Access and the architectural consultants which state the canopies are fit for purpose and meet current British Standards.”
A daily visual inspection was taking place from ground level ‘to look for any cracks or debris which may cause an issue if not addressed’.