The Northampton-based logistics firm, which delivers food and drink products to retailers, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The unnamed warehouse operative, 49, from Sittingbourne, fell 1.5m as he was unloading fridges from a trailer-mounted shipping container on November 13 2013. The injury meant he was unable to return to work for three months.
Yusen Logistics (UK) Ltd, of Grange Park, appeared before Medway Magistrates earlier this week (July 1) following an investigation by the HSE.
The court was told the containers had to be unloaded while mounted on a trailer if they arrived at the Thamesport site by road, while sea-arriving containers were unloaded at ground level.
HSE found the workers were using a new unloading ramp, but discovered it had not had the additional edge protection guarding fitted that the company’s other two ramps had in place. As a result, the injured man had limited protection from the fall when he overbalanced at the top of the ramp while helping to unload the fridges.
The firm admitted a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Rob Hassell said the incident and the worker’s subsequent painful injury were entirely preventable.
“Yusen Logistics failed to make sure the new ramp was fitted with additional edge protection, despite the fact it had two ramps with this type of essential guarding installed,” he added.
“Employers should identify where additional edge protection should be provided to safeguard their employees and other workers and then take the necessary action.”
Falls from height remain one of the biggest factors in fatalities and serious injuries to workers throughout the country, Hassell claimed.
Meanwhile, the number of workers killed in Britain last year has fallen to the lowest annual rate on record, according to the provisional data from the HSE.
The data revealed 133 workers were fatally injured between April 2013 and March 2014, compared with 150 in the previous year.
The overall rate of fatal injury has dropped to 0.44 per 100,000 workers, compared with 0.51 in 2012/13.
Health and safety minister Mike Penning, said: “Any death at work is a death too many. But these statistics show that workplaces are getting safer.”