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December 8, 2021

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in court

Trailer manufacturing company fined £172k after worker fell from height

Montracon Limited has been fined for safety breaches after a worker suffered head injuries after falling from a stepladder.

The 57-year-old worker was cleaning the cant rail of a curtain side trailer that had just been manufactured, Sheffield Magistrates’ Court was told.

Whilst using stepladders positioned on top of the trailer to reach the work the employee pulled the steps further down the trailer to clean the next section. As he climbed up the steps they started to wobble causing him to fall out of the trailer onto the floor, landing on his head.

The HSE’s investigation found that there was no ladder inspection regime in place and the equipment being used was not in good working order.

Montracon Limited of Carr Hill Doncaster West Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £172,500.00 and ordered to pay £12,202.69 in costs

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Anuja Mistry-Raval commented: “Equipment used to access work at height should be routinely inspected and checked to make sure it is in good condition and safe to use.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out a proper risk assessment, implementing appropriate control measures and adopting safe working practices

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Dennis Seaton, Chair of the Ladder Association’s Training Committee, commented: “It is clear from this case that the ladder in question was not fit for use. This unfortunate accident could have been avoided if the company had carried out the correct ladder inspections; detailed recorded visual inspections should be carried out regularly by a competent person, and pre-use checks should be carried out by the competent user before using a ladder.

“With regards to inspection by a competent person, we firmly believe that training can help to prove competence as required by the Work at Height Regulations. It is imperative that companies who use ladders in the workplace, assign the role of inspection to a person (or persons) who 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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2 years ago

Sounds as if the system of work was flawed – using even a sound stepladder on top of another element is risky for all sorts of reasons.
Using them at the top of stairs, or near a gap in flooring, increases the potential from a stepladder fall height to a considerable fall distance. Even stepping off the ladder in such scenarios can cause a mis-step and serious consequences.
So the wobbly (faulty) stepladder was a contributing factor.

David Kearney
David Kearney
2 years ago
Reply to  TheSafetyLady

I agree with your comment and reading the report it does seem to lean strongly around the use of the ladder rather than appropriate collective measures and a suitable risk assessment.