Poole Magistrates’ Court heard this week how, on 1 February 2017, a member of staff working in the company’s warehouse at Pymore, fell around seven feet from a make-shift mobile elevated working platform. The platform was attached to a forklift truck and was open sided.
The employee sustained injuries to his knee and face but the incident could have resulted in death or life changing injuries, according to West Dorset District Council which brought the case.
Environment Health officers from the council told the court on Tuesday 28 August how their investigation had uncovered inadequate risk assessments. The officers also found that there had been inadequate personal protective equipment provided for employees and no safe system to address the risk of employees falling from the platform.
A health and safety audit report from as far back as 2006 commented that use of the make-shift platform was “unacceptable”.
However the investigation found that despite a safer system being purchased by the company, the dangerous platform had continued to be used on an almost daily basis.
In mitigation the judge found that after the accident the company had addressed its health and safety failings and implemented a new health and safety regime.
Cllr Anthony Alford, Leader of West Dorset District Council, said: “I would like to thank our officers for investigating this matter. The health and safety practices of And So To Bed Ltd were simply not good enough. This accident should never have happened and could have been avoided”.
“Employers should be aware that they have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees.
“Good health and safety practice makes good business sense. If you want more information and advice please visit hse.gov.uk.”
And So To Bed Ltd of Pymore Mills, Bridport, Dorset was fined £113,000 plus costs of £6,924 for breaches of Sections 2(1) and 33(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and of Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company entered guilty pleas to both charges.