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December 7, 2016

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Volvo fined £900,000 after worker suffers “life-changing injuries”

Volvo has been fined £900,000 after a worker suffered head injuries and had to placed into an induced coma.

The worker was using a step ladder to service a large delivery truck, repairing the driver’s access rope for the cab when he fell, hitting his head and falling unconscious.

He was placed in a medically-induced coma for two weeks and still suffers from ongoing complications. He has been unable to return to work.

An investigation by the HSE found that the step ladder he had been using was damaged, and the anti-slip feet were worn.

The ladder was not Volvo property and had not been maintained or checked to ensure it was suitable for use.

At the time of the incident, 17 September 2015, Volvo UK had not trained their staff to select, inspect and use access equipment for work at height.

Volvo Group UK Limited of Warwick, pleaded guilty to a safety breach and was fined £900,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5820.28, with a £150 victim surcharge.

HSE inspector Nick Wright said, “This worker suffered life changing injuries that could have been prevented by simple health and safety precautions.

“For two weeks his family was told to prepare for the worst as he was placed in an induced coma to help manage the swelling on his brain.

“This case is not about banning ladders, on many occasions they are the right equipment to use when working at height, it is about companies ensuring they properly maintain their work at height equipment and train their workers on how to inspect them and select the correct tools for the job.

“As this case shows, even a fall from a relatively small height can have devastating consequences.”

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5 years ago

There has to be more to this than is reported! I have all the sympathy in the world for the injured party, but do we really need to give specific training on how to inspect a set of step ladders? How far down the road do we go to manage work to the Nth degree? Not many people successfully sue DIY companies should they fall from the ladder they’ve purchased? Why, because it doesn’t take the brains of an arch-bishop to visually inspect a step ladder and decide not to use when damaged. Did Volvo really grossly fail in their… Read more »

5 years ago
Reply to  Bob

The answer to your question is in the conviction report you just read,,,yes you do need to go to the 9degree. If he would have been made aware of the risks when using a defective ladder would he continued to use it???
Amazing how a piece of equipment not belonging to a large company like Volvo got brought in by a employee to use at work. Multiple failings in systems, communication, training, work equipment, wah, management its self. Could go on and on.

Roger Whittaker
Roger Whittaker
5 years ago

BOB – Please see my comments to you by going to LinkedIn and looking at where this article is referenced by
Wayne Lawton
Health, Safety & Environmental Senior Management (Band D) at National Grid

richard burrows
richard burrows
5 years ago

You’d like to think that a heavy vehicle repair workshop would be equipped with some bespoke kit allowing people to stand securely to work at this height – wheeled pedestal steps at the very least. Probably another too difficult to do arrangement for the company – fairly typical – no inspections, no supervision, no means of buying kit etc etc. Does point to some fairly serious shortcomings doesnt it.

Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp
5 years ago

I have some empathy with Bob’s comments. Indeed I thought the new SC guidance for h&s offences was supposed to weigh up the risk and the outcome in order to arrive at a commensurate sanction. I can’t help feeling that a £900K fine is disproportionate to the offence, which indicates the outcome has been the focus. The failings whilst not insignificant could be found at many small and large undertakings, and worse, if we are to be honest.

5 years ago

Who actually owned this ladder
did the person bring it in himself,if he did then i can see no reason for the company to be at fault.
A very disproportunate fine for what seems like an accident which could have happened at home
Though i hope the person involved recovers enough to lead a perhaps normal life again there seems to be more to this than first reported.