Country Style Foods Ltd were sentenced today for safety breaches after a worker was impaled upon a set of ‘airline’ style steps.
Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that on 18 September 2017, the employee was working at height on a set of steps to reach and clean the top oven in a stack of horizontal ovens. He slipped whilst on the working platform of these steps and became impaled upon a section of the handrail. He suffered a torn artery and nerve damage resulting in hospitalisation for several days.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the steps had been adapted for a different task, which created an additional risk when used for this work. Whilst a scissor lift was present on the site, the employee involved was not trained in its use.
Country Style Foods Ltd of Pontefract Lane, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £11,589 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Darian Dundas said: “The company failed to appropriately plan and supervise work at height leading to it being undertaken using a set of steps, which were inappropriate for the task.
“This incident was easily preventable, and the risk should have been more clearly identified and appropriately addressed. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies that fail to implement safe systems of work.”
25 February 2021
Employers have a responsibility to put in place Safe Systems of Work along with procedures for ensuring employees understand the procedures in place. The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a duty on Employers to prepare a Risk Assessment and record in writing the significant findings of the risk assessement, where the Company employs five or more people. A risk assessment will not only identify the Hazards that exist but it will also highlight the control measures that need to be put in place. These controls are likely to list the equipment that will be used and the need for using Competent Operatives to complete the task. A good risk assessment will include much more and it must be shared with the employees completing the work.
Wiser Safety can develop a Working at Height Safe System of Work or we can provide a Risk Assessment to suit your requirements. We can also train your workforce so they are able to work safely at height.
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