Kent fruit firm fined for safety failings

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Paynes Stores was fined after a worker stood on an apple box on forklift truck to carry out work on a roof
Paynes Stores was fined after a worker stood on an apple box on forklift truck to carry out work on a roof

Related tags Safety failings Employment Accident Injury Health and safety executive

A Kent-based fruit business has been fined for safety failings after it allowed a contractor to access a door for repair by standing on an apple box raised at height by a forklift truck.

Paynes Stores was fined £18,600 and ordered to pay a further £9,173 in costs after pleading guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work and Working at Height regulations.

The self-employed contractor working at Paynes was deemed to have been allowed to work on the roof with no controls or training specific to the tasks at the site on December 22 2014, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed.

Dangerous occurrences

The HSE visited the firm’s site on Swanton Farm, Bicknor, Sittingbourne following the filing of a Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) report.

RIDDOR puts the onus on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences or near misses.

Sevenoaks Magistrates Court heard that Paynes Stores had allowed roof work to be undertaken with no controls or training specific on key tasks.

Death and serious injury

After the hearing, HSE inspector Joanne Williams said: “Death and serious injury following falls from the edge of roofs or through fragile materials are all too common. Proper planning is vital to ensure the work is carried out safely and the correct precautions are identified and used.

“I hope this prosecution makes it clear to employers that they need to properly manage the risks of working at height and that HSE will not hesitate to take action against those who fall short of the law in such a way.”

Earlier this month, Branston Pickle manufacturer Mizkan Euro was fined £120,000​ for health and safety failings in relation to asbestos.

The food company failed to provide an asbestos survey before a factory wall was demolished to remove tanks from its former site in Burntwood in the West Midlands in July 2013.

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