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    RACKING FALL REVEALED UNSAFE SYSTEM OF WORK

    European firm fined £300,000 after UK sub-contractor employee fell

    Two companies have been fined after a worker fell from a warehouse racking system, suffering serious head injuries in February 2016.

    Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how recommissioning work on the warehouse racking system was being carried out at premises when one of the workers fell 10m from the top of the racking system onto the concrete floor below.

    HSE investigators found the main contractor subcontracted the work to another contractor.

    There was no safe system of work in place. There were no physical barriers to prevent anyone from falling nor was an effective fall arrest system put in place.

    Responsible for developing safe working methods

    The investigation also found the sub-contractor failed in its duty to ensure the health and safety of its own employees as the company did not undertake a risk assessment for working at height (incorrectly assuming that this assessment was conducted by the main contractor).

    • Ortec BV – of Zoetermeer, Netherlands pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was ordered to pay fines of £300,000 and costs of £4,742.75.
    • Mechantech Limited – of Rossington, Doncaster pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was ordered to pay fines of £36, 666 and costs of £4,742.75.

    Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Jane Carroll said:

    “Those in control of work have a responsibility to develop safe working methods and to ensure that their workers have the necessary information, instruction and training in that safe way of working.

    Had such a safe system of work been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented”.

     

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