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    EXPANSION OF FAMILY FIRM OUTGREW H&S CONTROLS

    Power cleaning equipment supplier employee fell from racking

    Nailsea Power Cleaning Limited, a supplier of equipment to the high pressure washer trade, has been fined £60,000 for health and safety breaches after North Somerset Council inspectors investigated an incident in which an employee fell 2m and suffered significant injury in November 2014.

    Simon Whitcombe (aged 41), a storeman who had worked for the company for over three and a half years, climbed a racking system to secure a load for lifting by forklift. There was no other means of safe access provided.

    Whilst doing so he fell to the concrete floor below sustaining fractures to both heels. He no longer works for the company and is still recovering from the injuries he sustained.

    Investigating officers from North Somerset Council found that the company failed to comply with their health and safety duties towards their employees. These involved:

    • Lift planning – failure to ensure that lifting operations were properly planned;
    • FLT training – failure to ensure that employees were adequately trained in the operation of forklift trucks;
    • Racking stability – failure to ensure that racking was stabilised in the warehouse;
    • H&S policy – failure to provide a written health and safety policy; and
    • Risk assessment – failure to provide suitable and sufficient risk assessments for their work activities.

    On 14 November 2016 the company pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

    The offences involved failing to discharge a duty contrary to Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and failing to comply with Reg 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

    H&S failed to keep pace with company expansion

    The company, which supplies electric, petrol and diesel high-power washers to the trade in the UK, was fined £60,000 and North Somerset Council was awarded full costs of £13,809.

    The company has now put in place procedures to comply with their duties.

    Mandy Bishop, Assistant Director (Operations) at North Somerset Council, said:

    “The growth of a family business to a successful medium-size enterprise is commendable but the focus on health and safety failed to keep pace with the expansion of the company.

    The consequences to the employee and his family of this accident were catastrophic and life changing and the fine issued by the court reflected this.”

     

     

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