Trailer company fined after cherry picker fall

A trailer firm has been fined after an employee suffered fatal head injuries.

The worker was operating a scissor-lift working platform known as a ‘cherry picker’ when it was clipped by a lorry. The man was thrown from a height of 1.5 metres.

The worker had been replacing signs at the firm’s entrance. He was wearing a hi-vis vest and steel toe-capped boots but was not legally required to wear a hard hat.

However, an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the work at height had not been planned and organised safely.

The cherry picker’s activity should have been segregated in space and/or time from the workplace’s vehicles.

SPR Trailer Services Limited pleaded guilty to breaking the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It was fined £120,000.  A hearing to decide costs is to take place later.

Simple safety measure  

The company claimed the tragedy was the result of ‘a series of minor misjudgements’ which created a ‘perfect storm’.

But the judge said the worker’s death had been ‘wholly avoidable’.

The judge stressed the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the work and failed to take basic measures to provide a safe working space.

The company should, in line with industry guidance, have simply segregated those working at height from workplace vehicles.

The firm also failed to provide instructions about how the work was to be done and failed to supervise matters.

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