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WASTE COMPANY PROSECUTED OVER FALL FROM VEHICLE RISK

Tipper driver fell from HGV whilst fixing auto-sheeting safety device

Quick Skips & Recycling Ltd and has been prosecuted after a worker sustained life-threatening injuries, on his first day in a new job, when he fell from the top of a tipper lorry. The company from which waste was being collected (Bridgemarts Limited – trading as Gowing & Pursey) were prosecuted at an earlier hearing.

The 40-year-old from Kent fractured two ribs, punctured a lung and developed a blood clot in his head as a result of the fall in London on 2 March 2010. He was unconscious in hospital for two weeks.

Westminster Magistrates heard (24 October) that he was collecting waste for transfer to another site. He loaded the lorry and climbed on top of the tipper unit to check an auto-sheeting device, used to cover the load, that was jammed. When he freed the jam the sheet system sprung back, striking him and sending him crashing more than 3m to the ground below.

HSE investigators found that “both companies could and should have done more to prevent the fall”. Bridgemarts had overall responsibility for the site and failed to adequately control the work at height risks and ensure the safety of a contractor.

Quick Skips allowed systematic failings in health and safety management, both in relation to the incident and also the operation of its site in Ealing. HSE inspectors identified several issues during a subsequent visit to this site, including excavators and HGVs operating within close proximity to workers.

Effective controls must stop unsafe “clambering” atop HGVs

Quick Skips & Recycling Ltd, of London, NW10, pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. The company was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay £2,843 in costs.

Bridgemarts was earlier fined £7,000 with £1,410 in costs at Westminster Magistrates after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 on 11 July.

After the latest hearing, HSE Inspector Neil Fry said:

“The Quick Skips employee could have died as a result of the fall, which would have unbelievably tragic on his first day of work at the firm. All because of an incident that was entirely preventable and that would never have happened had both companies properly managed the safety risks.

Incidents of this kind are all too common in the waste industry and effective controls must be put in place to stop employees clambering on top of HGVs without the right safety equipment and agreed safe working protocols.”

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