GEA Refrigeration UK Ltd was replacing a cooler unit located on a gantry 10m above the warehouse floor at an Iceland depot in Swindon in February 2017. This required a section of the gantry floor to be removed. A GEA employee fell 2.5 metres through the gap created by this removal and on to a cherry picker, suffering fractured ribs and internal injuries.
An investigation by the HSE found the company had failed to properly plan, co-ordinate and supervise the work, including the removal of the gantry floor to ensure the work was carried out in a safe manner to control the risks of falls.
GEA Refrigeration UK Ltd, of Ludgate Hill, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2015, and was fined £27,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £170.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Leo Diez said, “This incident could have been avoided by identifying and implementing effective control measures and safe working practices. Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related injury and fatalities and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”
In his victim personal statement, the injured worker said, “The effect of the accident on my personal and work life has been huge and has had a lasting effect.”
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