Workman injured in fall from unsafe position for cleaning machine
Warburtons Limited, a national bread maker, has been fined £2 million after a worker was hospitalised following a fall from height in 2013.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that employee Andrew Sears was carrying out routine mixing machine cleaning, undertaken every few weeks, when he lost his footing and fell nearly 2m to the floor below.
He was hospitalised with a compression fracture in his spine and unable to return to work until December 2014. However, he was unable to continue in his old role and was dismissed in December 2015 after another long period of sick leave.
Unbalanced and “braced” to stop falling
HSE investigators found that Warburtons Limited routinely expected their workers to access the top of the mixers to undertake the cleaning tasks. The workers were often unbalanced and would brace themselves to stop themselves from falling.
The workers were not adequately supervised and there had been no training on how the mixer needed to be cleaned at height. The company failed to control the risk of falls from height when carrying out this routine cleaning activity.
Warburtons Limited, Hereford Street, Bolton, 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 he his injuries could have been more severe.”