Warburtons Limited, a large national breadmaker has been fined £2 million plus costs of £19,609.28 after a worker carrying out routine mixing machine cleaning lost his footing and fell nearly 2 metres to the floor below.
He was hospitalised and suffered a compression fracture to his spine and was unable to return to his work for several months. He was unable to return to his original role and was dismissed in December 2015 after a long period of sick leave.
An HSE investigation found that the firm routinely asked its employees to access the top of the mixers when they undertook cleaning tasks, in order to do this the workers had to access and then brace themselves to prevent themselves from falling.
It was found that supervision was not adequate and no training had taken place on how cleaning risks at height could be controlled.
HSE Inspector Mahesh Mahey commented;
“This case highlights how important it is for companies to fully assess the risks from work activities at height and to take appropriate action to prevent injury in the workplace.
This should have been prevented, falls from height is one of the biggest killers in the workplace and even falls from fairly low levels can be extremely dangerous. Mr Sears life has been changed forever but his injuries could have been more severe.”