March 19, 2018

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Farming firm fined after ladder fall

A number of safety failings were uncovered during an HSE investigation, following an incident in which a worker fell from a ladder and suffered serious injuries.

The Edge Farming Company employee was cleaning the gutters on a farm building in January 2016 when the ladder he was working on slipped down the face of the building. The worker suffered a broken arm, shoulder and fractured elbow as a result.

Investigating, the HSE found there inadequate control measures in place with regards to working at height. There was no specific risk assessment for the cleaning of gutters even though it was a regular occurrence on the farm and the company failed to ensure that there was appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision. The defendant had also failed to report the accident within the required timeframe.

At Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court, Edge Farming Company of Wimboldsley, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 4 of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). The firm was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,826.74.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Rose Leese-Weller said: “This incident could have been fatal. Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of work and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers. For example, the work in this case could easily have been carried out using a mobile elevated work platform or a properly designed and erected mobile scaffold tower.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

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