Bus firm fined after gantry injury

A bus and coach manufacturer has been hit with a fine after an employee suffered a work injury, falling two metres at its Sheffield plant.

The Alexander Dennis Ltd employee, who does not want to be named, was working on a poorly-guarded gantry when the incident took place on 7 June 2012.

After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the firm admitted safety failings and was prosecuted this week before Rotherham Magistrates.

No guarding to prevent work injury

The 55-year-old employee, who has since recovered, was working on the exterior of a double-decker when he got too close to an open edge and fell to the ground below suffering head injuries, a broken and dislocated elbow and a fractured big toe.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the firm, which trades locally as Plaxtons, had not provided employees with a safe method of working at height.

The investigation also found workers were provided with unsuitable gantries and had not been given suitable training for carrying out that type of work.

There was no gate or bar fitted to the access steps of the platform the employee was using when the incident occurred at the Ryton Road site in Anston.

HSE inquiries revealed that all four gantries at the site were unstable and inadequately guarded, with only two having a single metal bar hinged across the access steps and none having inner guard rails to properly protect workers from falls.

The gantries, which were set on wheels without brakes, also did not extend the length of a bus and this meant employees would move along by pushing against the vehicle while standing on the gantries.

Work at Height Regulations breached

After admitting single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations and the Management of Health and Safety Regulations, Edinburgh-based Alexander Dennis Ltd was fined a total of £26,800 and ordered to pay £5,286 in costs.

HSE Inspector Denise Fotheringham said after the hearing she would have hoped a company of that size and reputation would be “setting the standards in safety” across its sites.

“Instead, this is one of a number of cases in the recent past where HSE has had to take enforcement action against the company.”

Source: HSE

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