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Logistics firm fails to spot gap in safety

Date:
1 July 2014

A Northampton logistics firm has been prosecuted after an agency worker fell from a loading ramp at their site on the Isle of Grain in Kent.

The warehouse operative, 49, from Sittingbourne, suffered a broken thigh bone in the 1.5m fall as he was unloading fridges from a trailer-mounted shipping container on 13 November 2013. He was unable to return to work for three months.

Yusen Logistics (UK) Ltd, of Grange Park, appeared before Medway Magistrates today (1 July) following an investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court was told the containers had to be unloaded while mounted on a trailer if they arrived at the Thamesport site by road, while sea-arriving containers were unloaded at ground level.

HSE found the workers were using a new unloading ramp, but discovered it had not had  the additional edge protection guarding fitted that the company’s other two ramps had in place. As a result, the injured man had limited protection from the fall when he unbalanced at the top of the ramp while helping to unload the fridges.

Yusen Logistics (UK) Ltd, of Cheaney Drive, Grange Park, Northampton, was fined £11,000 and ordered to pay £1,067 in costs after admitting a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Rob Hassell said:

“This incident and the worker’s subsequent painful injury were entirely preventable. Yusen Logistics failed to make sure the new ramp was fitted with additional edge protection, despite the fact it had two ramps with this type of essential guarding installed.

“Employers should identify where additional edge protection should be provided to safeguard their employees and other workers and then take the necessary action.

“Falls from height remain one of the biggest factors in fatalities and serious injuries to workers throughout the country.”

For advice on safe working at height visit, http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/vehicles/preventingfalls.htm

Notes to Editors:

  1. 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
  2. Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

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