Work accident news

Workplace safety failings lead to £15k fine

A Blackburn waste management firm has been prosecuted after one of its employees suffered a broken elbow in a workplace accident.

The 44-year-old fell four metres to the ground after climbing up the front of a collection truck to remove waste that had become stuck on its roof.

Blackburn Magistrates' Court heard the man had been helping empty a skip at a collection point in Guide, in September 2010.

He had climbed a set of metal bars mounted on the truck's bonnet to reach the roof, and fell when they gave way under his weight.

A work injury investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had allowed workers to use the bars as a ladder, despite them not being designed for this purpose.

Stuck waste on the roofs of vehicles was a regular problem, the court was told, but the firm did not have a safe procedure in place for removing it.

An HSE spokesman said the worker was lucky to have escaped a serious fall from height injury.

"The company wrongly assumed the metal bars on the front of the vehicle could be used as a ladder to climb up to the roof," he said.

"They were not designed to be used in this way and (the company) should not have allowed this practice to continue.

"Instead it should have provided an alternative way for waste to be safely removed."

Company bosses admitted breaching Health and Safety Regulations by failing to ensure employee safety.

The workplace accident cost them £15,000 in fines and £11,661 in prosecution costs.


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