In recent time there seems to have been a marked increase in deaths resulting from work undertaken at height. In most cases the basic fundamentals of meeting minimum health and safety requirements are not being met. With the application of the Sentencing Guidance now in full swing, record fines and prison sentences are on the rise.
It has been reported that Iceland Foods Limited has been fined £2.5 million at a sentencing hearing at Grimsby Crown Court, following a fatal accident at the company’s store in Rotherham.
The incident, on 28 October 2013, happened when a contractor visited the store to replace filters. The filters were within an air conditioning unit located on a plant platform above a suspended ceiling, which was located in the store’s warehouse.
The contractor fell three metres from the platform and through the suspended ceiling, sustaining fatal injuries.
In another reported case involving a fatality due to falling from height, the owner of a building firm (Colin Jeffrey, who owned the firm Utterly Gutterly) was jailed for 5 years following the death of a 17 year old on 4th December 2014. Jeffreys was accused of unlawfully killing the teenager and not following laws pertaining to working at heights. The task which ultimately resulted in a loss of life involved accessing a roof to paint a chimney.
To protect your business from suffering a similar fate, suitable and sufficient risk assessments need to be put in place with potential hazards and control measures identified.
The risk assessment must also highlight that dangerous tasks are not permitted for young persons to undertake. Working at heights of above 3 meters is a job that needs to be left with competent contractors where factors such as using the correct PPE and equipment safety come into effect.
The correct training also needs to be undertaken by individuals working at height.
If you need help with risk assessments, training, or any other advice on this or other health and safety matters contact us so our health and safety experts can advise on how best to keep your business safe.