17 June 2013
A haulage company has been fined after an employee sustained injuries falling from a wooden pallet carried on a fork lift truck.
The worker, from Waenbridge, St Asaph, who does not want to be named, suffered serious fractures to both his heels when he fell two metres while carrying out repairs to a lorry trailer unit on 22 February 2011.
In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Llandudno Magistrates heard today (17 June 2013) that the employee was asked to repair a high level tear in the curtain sided unit.
To reach the tear, he got on top of a wooden pallet which was raised off the ground by a forklift. After completing the work, he called for another worker to lower him down. The lift truck lurched backwards, causing him to fall off the pallet.
An investigation by HSE found that the work had not been properly planned and no suitable equipment had been provided by the company. The firm also failed to monitor and supervise the work of its employees.
LE Jones Ltd, of Denbigh Road, Ruthin, was found guilty of breaching Regulations 4(1), 5 and 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £4,041 in costs.
Speaking after the prosecution, HSE Inspector Dave Wynne, said:
"This entirely preventable incident could have caused much more serious or even life-changing injuries.
"The company could have provided a permanent gantry or a cherry-picker for routine repairs on its quite large road fleet.
"Work at height must be properly planned and organised by a competent person.
"This prosecution should send a strong signal to all companies that improvised work platforms are not acceptable in the modern workplace and HSE will take action where ineffectual monitoring and supervision leads to any incident."
Further information about working safely at height can be found on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/falls
Notes to editors
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states that "Every employer shall ensure that work at height is (a) properly planned; (b) appropriately supervised; and (c) carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe.”"
- Regulation 5 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states that no person engages in any activity, including organisation, planning and supervision, in relation to work at height or work equipment for use in such work unless he is competent to do so or, if being trained, is being supervised by a competent person.
- Regulation 6 (3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states that where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.