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Manufacturer fined after workers fall from height

A manufacturer of shopping trolleys has been fined after two men fell approximately three metres when a metal cage they were dismantling collapsed beneath them.

Following a visual inspection, a decision was made to hire scaffold towers and scaffolding boards to carry out the work. Once the scaffold towers had been erected the two employees accessed the roof of the cage. They began to remove panels one at a time dropping them to the floor inside the walls of the cage. When several of these panels had been removed the employees noticed that the cage shook in response to movement. The roof suddenly gave way and both employees fell to the floor below.

One of the men, Michael Barton, who was 52 at the time, suffered a broken pelvis, injured his hip and arm. The now 57-year-old, from Walsall, was off work for 12 months following the incident.

An investigation by the HSE found that the work had not been properly planned, appropriately supervised, or carried out in a manner that was safe. No consideration was given to whether dismantling the structure could be carried out without working at height or if the work was within the capabilities of the company’s employees. None of the employees involved were trained in the assembly of scaffolding towers, and the injured man was not trained in working at height. An investigation by Coventry City Council came to the same conclusion before primacy was handed to HSE.

At Magistrates’ Court in November 2023, Wanzl Limited of Heathcote Lane, Warwick pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Working at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £320,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4016.35.

Falls when working at height remain the most common kind of workplace fatality. If you require Health and Safety training, feel free to get in contact:

01782 438813

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