West Yorkshire company fined after worker seriously injured

A double glazing and conservatory manufacturing company was sentenced after a worker was seriously injured at its site in Wakefield.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 7 July 2016, two employees of Conservatory Outlet Limited were removing depleted stillages from the factory into the yard using two bogey wheel sets and a fork lift truck (FLT). The driver of the FLT picked up the stillages on the forks of the truck, then put bogey wheels under one end. A second set of bogey wheels were placed under the opposite end, and the load was pushed out of the factory into a sloping alleyway. One of the employees was on foot at the opposite end of the FLT to guide the load when it became unstable and toppled, crushing him between the stillages and the palisade fence.

The employee was taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary, where he underwent life-saving surgery on a complex fracture to the pelvis. He suffered several other fractures and was placed on respiratory support due to breathing difficulties.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, and there was no safe system of work in place. In addition, the equipment used was not suitable or in good working order, and the route used to move stillages was unsuitable and exposed workers to unnecessary risks to their safety.

Conservatory Outlet Limited of Thornes Lane Wharf, Wakefield was found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £66,000 with £2,860 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, inspector Jane Gordois said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the devastating injuries suffered by the employee could have been avoided.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. hse.gov.uk
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk