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April 27, 2022

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Manufacturing company fined after worker falls from ladder whilst installing security camera

A jam and preserve manufacturer has been prosecuted after a worker sustained multiple fractures after falling from a ladder.

A worker was installing a security camera on the outside of The Clarendon Food Company Limited production building in Pwllheli, using an unsecured ladder, 6 April 2020, Llandudno Magistrates’ court was told. The ladder slipped and the worker fell approximately 15ft sustaining multiple fractures to his right arm, left leg, cheekbone and a dislocation of his backbone

The HSE’s investigation found the work at height had not been properly planned, and alternative access equipment to allow safe working at height had not been considered. No training had been provided to either the injured party or others in relation to work at height. There was also a failure to ensure effective monitoring of work at height practices to identify any shortcomings in the company’s procedures which had persisted for some time. 

The Clarendon Food Company Limited of Bryn, Y Ffor, Pwllheli, Gwynedd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,344.30

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Matthew Pendle said: “Those in control of work at height have a responsibility to properly plan and supervise the work to ensure suitable equipment is selected. They also should provide the necessary information, instruction and training to workers.

“This incident could have been avoided if it had of been risk assessed, planned and suitable equipment selected, which employees were trained to use safely.”

Comments Gail Hounslea, Chairman of the Ladder Association, said: “Ladders can be a sensible and practical option for working at height for low risk and short duration tasks, where the work has been properly planned, the ladder can be used safely, be secured, and when it is being used by a competent person.

With regards to use by a competent person, we firmly believe that training can help to prove competence as required by the Work at Height Regulations. That’s why the Ladder Association has developed a range of ladder safety courses, not just for ladder users to understand when and how to use a ladder safely, but also for Managers and Supervisors to help them properly plan and organise work at height using ladders.

The Ladder Association urges all companies who use ladders in the workplace to ensure users and managers have the necessary training, skills, experience and knowledge – by doing so, there is much greater likelihood that accidents such as this, can be avoided.”

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