National bakery company Warburtons has been fined £2million and ordered to pay costs of nearly £20,000 after one of its workers was severely injured in a fall at its premises in Wednesbury.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how the employee; a father-of-one who had worked at the plant since 2007, fell nearly two metres while he was cleaning one of the company’s mixing machines. He suffered a compression fracture to his spine and was unable to return to work for over a year. Subsequently he was dismissed a year later following another long period of sick leave.
When the Health and Safety Executive investigated the incident they found that the company regularly expected their workers to access the top of the mixing machines to clean them. The employees were often unbalanced and would brace themselves to stop themselves from falling. The company failed to ensure suitable supervision of the procedures, and failed to adequately control the risks from falling from height while performing this routine cleaning activity.
Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Mahesh Mahey said: “This case highlights how important it is for companies to fully assess the risks from work activities at height and to take appropriate action to prevent injury in the workplace. This should have been prevented, falls from height is one of the biggest killers in the workplace and even falls from fairly low levels can be extremely dangerous. Mr Sears life has been changed forever but he his injuries could have been more severe.”
Have you been injured in a fall from height?
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