March 5, 2018

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£90k fine after worker fell from racking

A meat production company has been fined for safety breaches following an incident in which a worker was injured adjusting storage racking.

Luton Crown Court was told how a York House (Meat Products) Limited employee was instructed to adjust the height of shelves on storage racking with the assistance of co-workers. To enable them to reposition the top shelves of the racking the workers climbed up onto one of the lower crossbars which gave way underneath them.

One of the workers fell, hitting his head on the racking before landing on the floor. The dislodged crossbar fell from a height of 3.2m, hitting the employee on the back of the head and shoulders. The injured individual suffered soft tissue damage to his right shoulder and required physiotherapy for several months. He was also unable to work for two months.

Employees unaware of dangers

The HSE investigation into the incident, which occurred on 12 April 2016, found the company had failed to adequately manage the risks associated with working at height. Employees were not aware of the dangers associated with climbing storage racking and no safe system of work was in place.

York House (Meat Products) Limited of Shannon Place, Potton, Bedford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £90,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,567.88.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Emma Page said: “This incident could have been prevented had York House Meat Products provided a risk assessment or a safe system of work for the task in hand. Employees should be made aware of the risks associated with climbing storage racking.”

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3 years ago

Not aware of the dangers of standing on a racking beam while trying to move another… do they need to be told “You might fall and get hurt ?”
The employer failed in their responsibility to provide a safe way to do the work, but please don’t paint the employees as dimwits… they must have known the risk (it being as obvious as tightrope walking) but felt compelled by their employer to carry out the task anyway.

Scott Maitland
Scott Maitland
3 years ago

I agree there should have been a safe method of doing this, but to say the employees were unaware of the dangers, I find unbelievable.
There has to be a degree of personal responsibility.