The incident, which took place on 12 April 2016, saw a York House employee instructed to adjust the height of shelves on storage racking with the assistance of co-workers. In order for them to reposition the top shelves of the racking, the workers climbed up onto one of the lower crossbars, which gave way underneath them.
This led to one of the workers falling and hitting his head on the racking before landing on the floor. The dislodged crossbar fell from a height of 3.2m, hitting the employee on the back of the head and shoulders.
Soft tissue damage
The injured individual suffered soft tissue damage to his right shoulder and required physiotherapy for several months. He was unable to work for two months.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found that York House had “failed to adequately manage the risks associated with working at height”. The investigation said that employees were not aware of the dangers associated with climbing storage racking and no safe system of work was in place.
York House pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at the hearing at Luton Crown Court. The company was fined £90,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,567.88.
HSE inspector Emma Page said: “This incident could have been prevented had York House Meat Products provided a risk assessment or a safe system of work for the task in hand. Employees should be made aware of the risks associated with climbing storage racking.”
York House was unavailable for comment at time of writing.