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UK Nationwide bakery fined £2 million following two metre fall

A major bread manufacturer has recently been fined a sum of £2 million after a worker slipped and fell from an industrial mixing machine. A breach of Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 resulted in the business receiving a £2 million fine for failing to control the risk of falls from height.

The worker had been carrying out a routine cleaning task at one of the organisation’s sites in West Midlands sites during November 2013. He lost his footing at the top of the mixer, causing him to fall two metres to the ground below.

An HSE investigation revealed that workers were often unbalanced when carrying out this specific task. It was common practice amongst the workforce to brace themselves against the mixer as a sole means of fall prevention. Wolverhampton Crown Court was told that employees were not adequately supervised and no training had been given on how this machinery should be cleaned at height.

The high fine imposed in this case is one of several substantial sentences for health and safety offences already during the past 12 months or so.

Following this investigation, the HSE was of the view that insufficient steps had been taken to ensure workers were familiar with safety procedures. Such perceived failings now risk greater sentences than previously: since its introduction in England and Wales in February 2016, the Health and Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene Offences Definitive Guideline has resulted in an increasing number of fines into the millions.

If your organisation undertakes work at height and requires help with implementing safer systems of work at height, understanding working at height legislation such as the Working at Height Regulations 2005 and how this affects your business, please HFR Solutions CIC to discuss your working at height challenges further.

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