Business fined £1M following death of contractor whilst on site

A Hull based bakery has been fined following the death of self-employed electrical contractor who died following a fall from height. Hull Crown Court heard how the worker was contracted to complete electrical work at the Greencore Grocery Ltd site in Hull. The Contractor was wiring a motor that was situated above a machine; whilst standing on a stepladder. The company agreed this work activity could be completed using a stepladder (which it had provided).

The contractor fell from the stepladder and suffered fatal injuries.

An investigation by the HSE found that Greencore failed to properly plan this workplace activity from the beginning; including the access arrangements to be made for installation of motors.

Greencore Grocery Ltd of Apex Park, Amsterdam Road, Sutton Fields Industrial Estate Hull, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company has been fined £1million and ordered to pay costs of £30,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in Great Britain, the risks associated with working at height are well known.” She went on to say;

“Work at height regulations require that all work at height is properly planned and that appropriate access is provided. If Greencore had carried this out this death could have been prevented.”

Note: The use of ladders and stepladders to carry out work at height should not be your first consideration. Where such is used then you must be able to show; through a risk assessment that the risk of injury due to a fall from height was low; that the work was of short duration (i.e. less than 30 minutes in the same location) and that other more suitable work equipment was not available to you; so far as is reasonably practicable. The HSE have published guidance aimed at Employers (managers) and employees (workers) regarding the safe use of ladders.

In this case, it was a non-employee (a contractor engaged on the site) that was fatally injured; hence the prosecution under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It could just as easily have been a directly employed person and a charge under section 2(1) of the same Act
 

Authors: Ernie Taylor

Published: 04 Oct 2017

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