02 March, 2017
Following the introduction of the new Health and Safety Sentencing Guidelines, the HSE has handed out another large fine, this time to Warburtons Limited. The company was fined £2million after a worker was hospitalised following a fall from height.
The worker was seriously injured whilst cleaning out one of the mixing machines. The Health and Safety Investigation found that Warburtons Limited expected their workers to access the top of the two metre high mixers to clean them. The workers were often unbalanced and would brace themselves to stop from falling. The workers were not supervised and there had been no training on how the mixer needed to be cleaned at height. According to the HSE, the company had "failed to control the risk of falls from height when carrying out this routine cleaning activity".
Warburtons Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005 and was fined £2million and ordered to pay costs of £19,609.28.
Increasingly the HSE are now dolling out eye watering fines to large companies in accordance with the new sentencing guidelines where it is found that they have breached health and safety legislation. This case highlights the importance of assessing the risks involved when working at height and taking appropriate action to prevent injury in the work place. Employers must be able to demonstrate that they have carried out comprehensive risk assessments and properly trained staff to avoid prosecution.