Warburtons, the break maker, has been fined after a worker fell from height.
The national baker was fined £2 million at Wolverhampton Crown Court after Andrew Sears was hospitalised due to the accident at work.
Work carried out regularly
In November 2013, Mr Sears, who had worked in the factory since 2007, was cleaning a mixing machine at a bakery in Wednesbury. This was a job he carried out, without incident, every few weeks. But on this occasion, he slipped and fell around two meters.
The fall led to a compression fracture in his spine, preventing him from working for over a year. When he was able to return, he wasn’t able to perform his former role. A year later he was dismissed after taking a long period of sick leave.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Warburtons often had workers cleaning mixers from the top of the tall machines. These workers were found to be unbalanced during the work, with many being forced to brace themselves to prevent a fall.
The investigation also found that workers lacked adequate supervision and training on how the clean the mixer correctly.
The company was found to have failed to control the risk of falls from height when carrying out this routine activity.
Warburtons Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005 and was fined £2million and ordered to pay costs of £19,609.28.
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 his injuries could have been more severe.”
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: February 6, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown