Recycling company fined over fall…

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned companies to ensure work at height is carried out safely after a man fell from a lorry in Lincoln.

European Metal Recycling Ltd, which has two depots in Lincoln but is based in Warrington, Cheshire, was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £2,454 costs by Lincoln magistrates today (Wednesday 15 October) after pleading guilty to contravening Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, by failing to ensure work at height was carried out safely.

On 17 December 2007, an agency worker was repositioning fridge and freezer units on a curtain-sided trailer at the firm’s Beevor Street depot in Lincoln. He was standing on a fridge unit, attempting to move another unit on top of it to prevent it sticking out of the side of the vehicle, when he lost his balance and fell around ten feet to the ground.

The man, who is from Lincoln, dislocated fingers on his left hand, broke his left wrist and fractured vertebrae in his neck. He was in hospital for five days and had to wear a neck brace for three months.

Judith McNulty-Green, one of the HSE Inspectors for Lincolnshire, said: “Three million people work on or near vehicles as part of their regular job. Getting on and off a vehicle to carry out loading or unloading, and working at height on the vehicle, are often viewed as incidental to the main job. Because of this, the risks involved may not be properly considered by either workers or their managers. “Last year 45 people died and more than 3,000 suffered a serious injury after a fall from height at work. It is the most common cause of death at work.

“All companies must assess the risks from work they are undertaking at height and ensure that the work is planned properly and appropriate measures are taken so that workers are not at risk of falling. “This incident could have been avoided, and a man might not have been seriously injured if the company had sufficient procedures in place.”