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    FALL THROUGH UNFLOORED FACTORY ROOF SPACE

    Non-routine tasks require assessment and clear risk controls

    A cheese producing company has been fined after an employee was seriously injured when he fell through an internal roof space in October 2017

    Kirkwall Sheriff Court heard how the workman was instructed by the general manager to retrieve a dead mouse from the unfloored loft area.

    It was during this work that whilst “crawling along ceiling battens” he stood on a fragile board which had been left behind when the factory was built. The board failed under his weight he fell some 2.5m to the factory reception below.

    Contractors usually managed risk

    HSE investigators found that the company usually engaged external contractors to deal with vermin issues and employees were “not normally required to work at height within the business”.

    The investigation found that on this occasion, the employee fell though the ceiling and suffered a significant injury because control measures had not been implemented to safely cross the unfloored loft.

    • Orkney Cheese Company Limited – of Crowness Road, Kirkwall, Orkney pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £8,000.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Norman Schouten said:

    “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

    Working on or near fragile surfaces should be properly assessed and managed. This case highlights the importance for companies to assess and control risks created by non-routine tasks.”

     

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