The Health and Safety Executive has recently published a case which illustrates the continuing failure of companies to take suitable care of their employees.

Hull Crown Court heard that a worker was contracted to complete electrical work on a motor at a Hull-based bakery in October 2013. The worker was a self-employed electrical contractor and used a stepladder provided by the bakery to carry out work on a motor located above a machine.

The contractor fell from the ladders and very sadly suffered a fatal head injury upon landing.

For all such workplace activities, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 place a number of requirements upon an organisation:

  • That they suitably plan the work- including the selection of appropriate equipment;
  • That they carry out a fully documented risk assessment, which must confirm that ‘a ladder is used for work at height only if a risk assessment under regulation 3 of the Management Regulations has demonstrated that the use of more suitable work equipment is not justified.’

Following the accident, a Health & Safety Executive investigation found that the bakery had not carried out sufficient planning from the beginning, including a failure to make sufficient access arrangements to enable the work to be safely completed.

s.3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act requires companies to ensure (as far as reasonably practicable) that even those not directly employed by them are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

The bakery pleaded guilty to breaching section 3 (1) of the Act, and was fined £1 million plus £30,000 in costs.

The case clearly illustrates that companies are still failing to manage the risks associated with working at height. As the HSE stated in response to this case, the risks posed by working at height are well known making cases like this all the more shocking.

We are experienced in dealing with all aspects of personal injury matters, including accidents at work. If you require advice and assistance, please contact our Head of Personal Injury, Gareth Naylor on 0113 284 5014.

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