Employee didn’t have encessary equipment to carry out work safely…
A grain milling company in Bedford has been prosecuted by the HSE after one of their employees was seriously injured as a result of a fall while working on a night shift.
The 45-year-old accident victim suffered a fall of almost three metres onto a concrete surface after he climbed pipework in an attempt to unblock a feed pipe at the milling plant on 26 February 2011. He sustained broken ribs, severe bruising and multiple cuts and lacerations in the accident.
The subsequent investigation by the HSE discovered that the accident might have been prevented if the milling company had implemented some basic safety measures to protect workers from the specific risks associated with working at heights.
Bedford Magistrates’ Court heard that the accident victim didn’t have any ladder or platform available to use and had to climb the pipework to complete this task, indeed during the process of unblocking the feed pipe he had to sit on a nearby pipe to do the work but unbalanced and fell to the ground below, hitting other pipes on the way down.
The company pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £3,712 in costs.
HSE Inspector Emma Rowlands spoke after the hearing:
“This incident was entirely preventable. The accident victim’s injuries could have been far more serious than they were. The company had made a commitment some years earlier to review all work at height activities yet there was no evidence that had been carried out.
“You do not have to fall from a great height to either lose or ruin your life. Work at height remains one of the most significant causes of fatalities and major injuries among employees.
“Employers who put people at risk of serious injury or illness can expect to face enforcement action and for the worst offences criminal prosecution through the courts.”
The HSE report that in 2010/11 there were 775 falls from over two metres height which carry a high risk of causing serious injury and even death.
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