North Wales company heavily fined after worker injured in fall

by Redmans Solicitors on June 18, 2013

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A business based in north Wales has been heavily fined after a worker suffered a serious injury in a fall at work.

A haulage firm in north Wales has been heavily fined and ordered to pay the prosecution’s costs after a worker suffered a serious injury in a fall from height in 2011.

The unnamed worker was employed by LE Jones Ltd as a worker. The incident happened on 22 February 2011 when the worker – who is unnamed for personal reasons – was told to repair the side netting on a lorry. In order to do so he climbed on a wooden pallet which was lifted off the floor by a forklift, which was controlled by another worker. The worker undertook the repairs to the lorry and then asked the other worker in the forklift to lower him down to the ground. At that point the forklift truck lurched forward, catapulting the worker to the ground. This 6-feet fall resulted in the worker sustaining serious fractures to both of his heels.

The Health and Safety Executive was subsequently notified of the accident and conducted an investigation. This investigation resulted in a recommendation that LE Jones Ltd be prosecuted for potentially infringing health and safety regulations – namely the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The case came before the Llandudno Magistrates Court in Wales yesterday. The court heard evidence that the HSE investigation had found that the work had not been properly planned and that there had been a failure to provide suitable equipment to the employees so they could carry out work-related tasks. The court also heard that there had been a systematic failure by the company to supervise the work of its employees.

LE Jones Ltd pleaded not guilty to breaches of Regulations 4(1), 5 and 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  However, the court found the company was in fact guilty of these breaches. The company was held to be guilty of a breach of Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 as the court found that it had failed to take sufficient measures to prevent – so far as was reasonably practicable – any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.It was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay the prosecution’s costs of £4,041.

Marc Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans employment solicitors, commented on the case: “Employers have strict obligations to comply with health and safety regulations when workers are operating at height. This includes properly planning works, carrying out suitable risk assessments, making sure the right equipment is provided, and ensuring that there is proper supervision and monitoring of persons at work. A failure to do this may mean that companies are subject to personal injury claims and/or investigations from the Health and Safety Executive.”

A Health and Safety Executive inspector, Mr Dave Wynne, made the following statement: “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.”

Redmans Solicitors offer employment law advice and compromise agreement advice to employees and employers

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