A UK-based food packaging company has been ordered to pay nearly £80,000 in fines and charges after a worker broke his back in a fall from a roof, health and safety authorities have announced.
Anson Packaging Ltd was fined £50,015 with £29,291.09 costs after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 at Cambridge Crown Court, the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.
Cambridgeshire Compressor Engineering Ltd, the subcontracting company which employed the worker, has also been fined for health and safety shortcomings.
The subcontractor was fined a total of £68,030 with additional costs of 37,743.72 after admitting similar regulation breaches.
An investigation by the HSE found that the two companies had failed to ensure that the employees were competent to work at heights, given appropriate equipment and a safe system of work.
“Both companies had a duty to ensure that work at height undertaken by their own employees, or on their behalf by staff employed by subcontractors, was properly managed with safe systems of work agreed and implemented,” said HSE inspector Gavin Bull.
“Although some work equipment was provided to the two workers to enable them to undertake the work at height it was not suitable for the particular roof space and the workers were not trained in its correct use.”
According to the HSE, falling from a height is one of the most common causes of work place injury, with more than 4,000 major incidents recorded in 2008/09.
“In this case a man suffered serious personal injuries because work at height was not properly planned,” Bull added.
Health and safety shortcomings
The workers, who were employed by subcontractor Cambs Compressor Engineering Ltd, were tasked with installing pipe work required for the installation of a moulding machine at an Anson Packaging facility.
Part of this piping work was situated in a roof void – 6.5 metres above the factory floor.
Two workers were given harnesses as they were required to use a crawl board to travel from protected walkways to the roof.
But they were unable to use them properly due to a lack of effective attachment points in the roof void and were forced to detach themselves to move across the void.
One of the workers – Anthony Strong - fell to the floor while using the crawl board, suffering fractures to his spine, skull and ribs.
In a statement sent to FoodProductionDaily.com, Anson Packaging reiterated its employee safety concerns.
“Anson Packaging Limited deeply regrets the accident involving Mr Strong. We accept there were shortcomings in the way we scrutinised the working practices of our contractor on this occasion.”
“The health and safety of our employees and visitors to our premises is our primary concern and we have taken steps to ensure our contractors adopt safe working procedures.”