A haulage company has been fined after an employee sustained injuries falling from a wooden pallet carried on a fork lift truck.

The worker, from Waenbridge, St Asaph, who does not want to be named, suffered serious fractures to both his heels when he fell two metres while carrying out repairs to a lorry trailer unit on 22 February 2011.

In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Llandudno Magistrates heard today (17 June 2013) that the employee was asked to repair a high level tear in the curtain sided unit.

To reach the tear, he got on top of a wooden pallet which was raised off the ground by a forklift. After completing the work, he called for another worker to lower him down. The lift truck lurched backwards, causing him to fall off the pallet.

An investigation by HSE found that the work had not been properly planned and no suitable equipment had been provided by the company. The firm also failed to monitor and supervise the work of its employees.

LE Jones Ltd, of Denbigh Road, Ruthin, was found guilty of breaching Regulations 4(1), 5 and 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £4,041 in costs.

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE Inspector Dave Wynne, said:

“This entirely preventable incident could have caused much more serious or even life-changing injuries.

“The company could have provided a permanent gantry or a cherry-picker for routine repairs on its quite large road fleet.

“Work at height must be properly planned and organised by a competent person.

“This prosecution should send a strong signal to all companies that improvised work platforms are not acceptable in the modern workplace and HSE will take action where ineffectual monitoring and supervision leads to any incident.”

Further information about working safely at height can be found on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/falls


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