A bakery company has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker was impaled upon a set of ‘airline’ style steps.
The incident happened on 18 September 2017, when the employee of Country Style Foods Ltd was working at height on a set of steps to reach and clean the top oven in a stack of horizontal ovens. He slipped whilst on the working platform of these steps and became impaled on a section of the handrail. He suffered a torn artery and nerve damage. He was in hospital for several days.
The HSE’s investigation found that the steps had been adapted for a different task, which created an additional risk when used for this work. Whilst a scissor lift was present on the site, the employee involved was not trained in its use.
Country Style Foods Ltd of Pontefract Lane, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £11,589 in costs.
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.”