A runaway electric trolley led to an employee jumping for safety on to a concrete floor, resulting in a serious work accident.
Pepper picker Zofia Jurek – who is still off work nearly a year after the incident on July 25, 2013 – fell unconscious after suffering a:
- brain haemorrhage
- fractured skull
- broken heel
- loss of taste and smell which has not fully returned
Chelmsford Crown Court fined her employer, Essex-based salad grower Valley Grown Nurseries Ltd, £22,000 for safety breaches.
Ms Jurek plunged 1.4 metres (4ft 7in) from the electric trolley – or travelling platform – as it gained speed on a ramp as she jumped to avoid smashing into a greenhouse door.
The platform is used by workers to pick peppers.
Brakes were not installed on the trolleys, which are designed to help workers pick peppers at maximum heights of three metres (9ft 10in).
When Ms Jurek, 63, hit the accelerator, the travelling platform instead sped towards the ramp and accelerated down it.
Fall investigators found safety failings
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigates slips, trips and falls, such as this one, prosecuted the firm on Friday (July 11).
It found that Valley Grown Nurseries Ltd should have:
- repaired the electric trolleys
- prevented falls by employing improved guard rails or bollards
- properly recognised the danger the sloped floor presented to staff using electric trolleys mobile platforms
In addition, Nazeing-based Valley Grown Nurseries Ltd was told to pay costs of £8,830. It admitted guilt in breaking section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
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Employees who have sustained a head injury at work which wasn’t their fault can lodge a personal injury claim through the Esther Rantzen-backed Accident Advice Helpline (AAH).
We are a trusted national law firm which can help injury victims in their hour of need via a team of specialist solicitors.
Your first step should either be calling on the free-phone line of 0800 689 0500 or through the website. The latter includes an informative blog page relating to all manner of injury-related subjects.