Man lost his balance after attempting to free jammed door…
A tiling company has been prosecuted after an employee suffered multiple severe injuries when he fell from the roof of an industrial oven at a site in Bishop Auckland.
The 56-year-old accident victim sustained multiple fractures to his left leg and a fractured skull as a result of the fall at the company plant on 18 January 2012. More than a year after the incident, the man still requires crutches or a wheelchair to help his mobility and continues to undergo reconstructive surgery to help with his injuries.
The subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the accident found that the accident victim had been employed as a kiln operator by the company, and was standing on the top of a large industrial oven at the time of the accident, attempting to loosen an exit door that had been jammed for a few weeks. As he was trying to force the door of the oven open, he lost control of his footing and fell three metres from the top of the oven unit.
Darlington Magistrates’ Court was told that the man’s employer had failed to ensure the necessary safety protocols were in place to deal with the risks associated with working at heights. The tiling company was also criticised for failing in their duty to provide a safe system of work with regard to dealing with the jammed door.
The Cheshire-based company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £13,500 in addition to prosecution costs of £4,190.70.
HSE Inspector Michael Kingston spoke after the case had concluded:
“The accident victim suffered major, life-changing injuries as a result of this incident, but there was a real possibility that his fall could have been fatal.
“The company was aware of the oven door jamming but failed to put an engineering solution in place until after the incident. In addition no edge protection or any simple precautionary measures were provided temporarily to prevent Mr Snow, or any other employee, falling almost three metres to the factory floor.
“Falls from height continue to be the main cause of workplace fatalities even though simple and inexpensive measures can be implemented to avoid putting employees at risk.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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