November 19, 2018

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In Court

Worker suffered significant head injuries falling 10 metres from racking

Two companies have been fined after a worker fell from a warehouse racking system, suffering serious head injuries.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court was told how, on 1 February 2016, recommissioning work of a warehouse racking system was being carried out at premises on Stopgate Lane, Simonswood. While working on this project, one of the workers fell 10 metres from the top of the racking system onto the concrete floor below, sustaining significant head injuries.

The HSE’s investigation found the main contractor Ortec BV had subcontracted the work to Mechantech Limited to undertake. There was no safe system of work in place as none of the workers had safety harnesses and there were no physical barriers to prevent anyone from falling. The investigation also found Mechantech Limited had failed in its duty to ensure the health and safety of its own employees as it had not undertaken any risk assessment for working at height (incorrectly assuming that main contractor Ortec BV had done so).

Ortec BV of Houtsingel 5, Zoetermeer, in the Netherlands pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was ordered to pay fines of £300,000 with costs of £4,742.75.

Mechantech Limited of, Rossington, Doncaster pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and were ordered to pay fines of £36, 666 and costs of £4,742.75.

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Jane Carroll said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to develop safe working methods and to ensure that their workers have the necessary information, instruction and training in that safe way of working. Had such a safe system of work been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented”.

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