A British ferry firm has appeared at Swansea Magistrates Court after a worker sustained two broken legs in a fall out of the back of a lorry. Briton Ferry Stevedoring was fined for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £13,000 after pleading guilty to the offence. A further £1,497 was ordered to be paid to cover court costs along with a £200 victim surcharge.
The accident happened when Nigel Preece, aged 58 at the time of the accident, was unloading a series of large steel cables wrapped in coils from the lorry. When he finished he fell backwards out of the flatbed lorry onto the concrete. The accident meant he had to undergo a 10-and-a-half hour operation to fix his legs. It was six months before he was able to return to work. He returned to the same company and site where he had the accident.
Since the accident Briton Ferry Stevedoring has implemented safer procedures to ensure this does not happen again. This involved installing a platform for unloading and barriers that can be moved as required.
How dangerous can falls from height be?
There is a specific set of regulations called Working at Height and these are in place for a reason. While the Health and Safety at Work Act focuses on all aspects of working, this particular set of regulations provides a framework that should always be followed to minimise the chances that accidents of this nature could happen. A fall from height could result in serious injuries as was the case here. In other circumstances it could potentially result in a fatality. Fortunately few companies breach these laws at any time, which is good to know.
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Date Published: February 22, 2015
Author: David Brown