Abattoir fined for worker’s fall

A Lincoln abattoir has been forced to pay out over £37,000 after a worker fell from a dangerous height and suffered life-changing injuries.

Dovecote Park, of Skellingthorpe, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 for the accident, which happened on 21 July last year. The company was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,361.

Lincoln Crown Court heard that a maintenance engineer had been installing light fittings in a chiller at the plant, using a stepladder set on top of a wooden board spanning metal rafters, approximately three metres from the ground. He and a colleague accessed the board using a cherry picker, but the board gave way. The engineer fell to the ground, while his colleague managed to grab on to one of the rafters and make his way down safely.

The engineer was off work for a number of months before returning to Dovecote Park, but found he was unable to carry out his job and resigned. He has been told he may never fully recover from his injuries.

Prosecuting, The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) said the work had not been properly planned, supervised or carried out in a safe manner. It pointed out that the cherry picker used by the company was not suitable for the task, because it was not tall enough to reach the light fittings.

HSE inspector Scott Wynne said: “Work at height is a high-risk activity that must be properly planned. Changing light bulbs was a foreseeable task, yet the company had never considered how they would, or should, carry it out.

“The activity should have been subject to a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, which would have identified the precautions needed to carry out the task safely, including selecting appropriate access equipment. The company simply instructed this individual to carry out the task and left him to his own devices. The resulting injuries were life-changing.”

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