A carpentry and joinery company has been fined £200,000 after a worker fell from a forklift truck in Coventry.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that unsafe working practices were the cause of the incident in June 2021. In addition to using a stillage to lift workers onto the forklift, the company demonstrated a lack of training, correct equipment and risk assessments.
Here’s how to protect your business and employees from dangerous work-at-height practices.
A man working for Staircraft Group Limited in Exhall, Conventry, fell 3.5 metres to the ground and sustained a broken leg and elbow injury.
He had been working on an unsecured stillage on the forks of a forklift truck when the incident occurred. The stillage tipped, causing the employee to fall to the ground and sustain his injuries.
Health and safety violations
The investigation by HSE found that Staircraft Group had failed to identify the dangers of lifting workers onto the forks of a forklift truck with a stillage – a method they had used previously. HSE also found there was a lack of work-at-height training for employees, in addition to a lack of risk assessments and systems of work in place.
The company were ordered to pay fine of £200,000 and costs of £6,477.93 for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1974.
Rebecca Whiley, HSE inspector said: “The employee’s injuries were very serious, and he could have easily been killed.
“This serious incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
Work at height safety regulations
The incident breached a number of safety regulations for the workplace, including the Work at Height Regulations 2005. These regulations state that work at height should:
- Be properly planned
- Be appropriately supervised
- Use a selection of work equipment in accordance with regulation
- Ensure no person engages in any activity unless they are competent to do so
These conditions are the responsibility of the employer, and it is the employer that is liable if regulations are breached.
How to ensure your business works at height safely
To ensure your work at height practices are safe, your employees should undergo regular training. HCS Safety offer a range of courses to ensure your staff are competent to undertake work at height safely, including:
- Working at Height Awareness
- Harness for Users
- Scaffold Inspection TG20:21
- PASMA: Towers for Users
- PASMA: Low Level Access Platform
- PASMA: Combined Course
To find out more about our work at height training courses, contact the HCS Safety team today.