The company was fined following an incident in which two workers were injured during construction work at a farm in Goxill, north Lincolnshire. The court heard that two of Henzell Enterprise Ltd’s workers fell approximately three metres when the mobile work platform they were working in failed. The two men received serious injuries though have since returned to work.
The HSE prosecuting, told the court Henzell Enterprises Ltd had been contracted to erect a steel framed agricultural building at East Marsh Farm, Goxill.
A steel frame had been erected and work had started to install the roof beams. On 24 October 2013, the two workers were fixing roof beams in place from inside a raised man riding basket fitted to a forklift telehandler truck.
The basket attachment failed and along with the workers it fell around three metres to the ground below and both men suffered broken bones and internal injuries.
The immediate cause of the accident was that the basket had not been secured correctly to the forks of the telehandler. The court was told the type of equipment being used was not suitable for this type of high risk work.
HSE told the court the company had failed to ensure the safety of its employees, in that work at height was not properly planned, appropriately supervised, or carried out in a safe manner. In particular, the company had failed to provide appropriate equipment for work at height.
By using a telehandler with a removable basket, the company increased the risk to workers. The telehandler was also being used to lift materials which required the man riding basket to be removed and replaced frequently.
Henzell Enterprises Ltd of Morpeth was fined £5000 with £10,147 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
The HSE inspector commented after the case that it was the responsibility of the company, to ensure that work at height was planned and carried out in a safe manner.
It remains that falls from height are the main reason for workplace fatalities and therefore it is so important that employers take note of this case and ensure that work at height, including the selection of appropriate equipment is planned in detail and managed closely so as to prevent accidents to workers.