Safety failings cost horticultural firm £30k

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Horticultural firm, William Sinclair Horticulture Ltd, was fined for safety failings
Horticultural firm, William Sinclair Horticulture Ltd, was fined for safety failings

Related tags: Conveyor belt, Risk, Occupational safety and health

A horticultural firm was ordered to pay more than £30,000 by Bolton Magistrates court last week (June 27) for safety failings at two of its sites, after investigations by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

William Sinclair Horticulture Ltd of Firth Road, Lincoln, was fined over two separate safety failings at its Ellesmere Port and Lincoln sites.

The first safety failing focused on a worker, Darren Taylor, who was assisting in a deep clean of conveyor belts, at the Ellesmere Port site.

The ladder he was using moved, causing him to fall 1.75m to the ground.

An HSE investigation found that the company did not have a risk assessment or safe system of work for the cleaning of the conveyor belts or for the safe use of ladders.

In the second safety failing, the Court heard the company had failed to heed the advice of an HSE inspector by not providing adequate guarding on machinery at its Lincoln site.

Following a visit by the inspector on January 28 2015, an improvement notice was served to improve the guarding of the conveyors that fed products into the machines.

Additional improvement notice

A second visit on March 4 2015, resulted in an additional improvement notice being served in relation to guarding on the sand line.

A third visit on June 9 2015 found that the company still had significant problems with machine guarding, despite previous formal enforcement action.

HSE inspector Helen Jones said after the hearing: “William Sinclair Horticulture Ltd failed to act on the advice they were given to improve safety standards at both their Ellesmere Port and Lincoln sites.

Because the company had failed to ensure adequate control measures were in place to reduce the risk of falling from height, Mr Taylor suffering serious injuries when he fell from the ladder.

“A fixed platform had already been identified as a better way to control the risk of falling from height, but the company had failed to act to ensure the risks were significantly reduced.”

The firm was found guilty of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Ordered to pay full costs

It was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £7,071.

Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFU Scotland) has launched a campaign to cut the number of deaths and injuries on Scottish farms.

The Farm Safety Week campaign, underlined with the message “Who would fill your boots?” ​urged farmers to consider the future.

The awareness week – taking place from July 4–8 – encouraged farmers and those within the industry to make their safety and the safety of those around them a priority.

The union will detail personal stories from well-known farmers from across Scotland who have had an accident on their farm, the impact it had on them and how their practises changed as a result.

According to NFU Scotland, 33 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded last year – a rate of 9.12 deaths per 100,000 workers – which is significantly higher than any other industry.

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