Firm fined £1million following ladder tragedy that “could have been prevented”

A Yorkshire-based bakery was this month fined £1million following the death of an electrical contractor, who lost his life following a fall from a stepladder.

Hull Crown Court heard how the unnamed man was contracted to complete electrical work at Greencore Grocery Ltd, in Hull.

He had been standing on the stepladder wiring a motor which was situated above a machine. The company had agreed work activity could be completed using a stepladder which it had provided.

However, the self-employed worker suffered a fall which caused fatal injuries.

Following the incident in October 2013, an investigation was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Inspectors found that Greencore had failed to properly plan access arrangements for the installation of motors.

The firm admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £1million and ordered to pay an additional £30,000 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in Great Britain.

“Work at height regulations require that all work at height is properly planned and appropriate access is provided. If Greencore had carried this out this death could have been prevented.”

Businesses are advised that the standards which apply to ladders and steps are set to change in November 2017. Two current sets of regulations are being withdrawn and replaced with new European-wide standards.

The changes, designed to reduce the likelihood of a ladder-related accident, include new slip tests and a requirement that stabilisers be introduced on ladders over three metres high.

It is vital that all firms take steps to comply with the new framework to safeguard members of staff.

For advice on any aspect of health and safety legislation, including the new ladder standards, please email Jo Yeates or Mark Dalton or call 01904 528200.

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