Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that on 18 September 2017 the employee was working at height on a set of steps to clean the top oven in a stack of horizontal ovens when the accident happened.
He slipped whilst on the working platform of these steps and became impaled upon a section of the handrail. He suffered a torn artery and nerve damage that resulted in his hospitalisation for several days.
Adapted for a different task
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the steps had been adapted for a different task, which created an additional risk when used for this work. A scissor lift was present on site, but the worker was not trained to be able to use it.
Country Style Foods Ltd of Pontefract Lane, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £11,589 in costs.
‘Inappropriate for the task’
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Darian Dundas said: “The company failed to appropriately plan and supervise work at height leading to it being undertaken using a set of steps, which were inappropriate for the task.
“This incident was easily preventable, and the risk should have been more clearly identified and appropriately addressed. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies that fail to implement safe systems of work.”
Meanwhile, last month, Nestlé was ordered to pay more than £660,000 for health and safety failings after a worker’s arm was dragged into a machine. Investigations by the HSE found that the manufacturer had failed to prevent access to dangerous moving parts of the machine.