• Leyland SDM (LSDM) Limited has been fined £450,000 after four workers fell more than three and a half metres whilst carrying a ventilation unit.
• Westminster Magistrates Court recently heard how LSDM had been in the process of redeveloping a warehouse in Wembley when the accident happened.
• Four workers tried to move a ventilation unit into position, but the working platform became overloaded and gave way.
• It was asserted by the HSE in court and accepted by the company by their guilty plea, that neither the work at height, or the lifting operations were planned properly.
• Two of the four injured men suffered leg fractures.
• A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the company failed to manage the risks when working at height and carrying out the lifting operation.
• The company also failed to have the right level of trained personnel and supervision in place to carry out these tasks safely and effectively.
LSDM of Fourth Way, Wembley pleaded guilty to breaching: i) Regulations 6 (3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005; ii) Regulation 4 (1) of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. They were fined £450,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1038.
HSE inspector who dealt with the investigation and prosecution, Jack Wilby, said:
“The safety failings by this company are severe and it is lucky that the injuries were not more severe. This incident highlights the importance of planning work, in this case both for lifting operations and working from height, to ensure it is carried out safely.”
Safety Smart Comment:
• This case is a catastrophic example of what happens when lifting at height hasn’t been properly considered or planned.
• The fact that four workers collectively fell more than three and a half metres is an extensive, considerable breach of a number of the Work at Height Regulations.
• When lifting at height, it is essential, as set out in the Lifting Regulations (LOLER), to conduct necessary calculations to ensure that the working platform is sufficiently strong to take the weight of the object being lifted. If necessary, specialist lifting assistance should be outsourced to a reputable contractor.
• This case is an example to all contractors of what not to do when heavy plant equipment needs to be moved on site. The heavy fine reflects the court’s extremely dim view of the company’s lack of consideration of the workers’ safety in this dangerous planning operation.