Workplace vehicles and falls risk | Company fined after employee falls from lorry

A manufacturer has been fined after an employee suffered serious injury in a fall from height.

The employee was injured after he fell from a lorry bed while unloading the vehicle. The fall resulted in multiple fractures, causing the worker to miss over five months of work.

Unclear instruction

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the employer had failed to train employees on how to safely access lorry beds.?The firm had not provided suitable and clear instructions or training so that employees did not access lorry beds in an unsafe manner.

Braithwaite Engineers Limited pleaded guilty to breaking the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £9,400 and ordered to pay costs of £1,680.

Total cost of breach
"Falls from vehicles can be overlooked by employers when considering risks from work at height. Simple measures would have prevented this accident."

HR Manager, Empire Cinema

HSE guidance

Getting on and off a vehicle at height to carry out loading/unloading tasks is seen as incidental to the main job. As a result, the risks involved may not be properly considered by both employers and employees.

Careful assessment of the task and putting simple and cost-effective safety controls in place can reduce the risk of falls from vehicles significantly. It can also help to avoid potential losses for your business.

Get help from workers using vehicles – they know how tasks are really done and normally have good ideas about how to make them safer and more efficient.

Think in terms of the following hierarchy of controls:

Plan to avoid work at height when you can.
Where this is not possible, make sure to use work equipment to prevent falls. Consider vehicle-based systems first, then on-site systems as a second choice.
Where the risk of fall cannot be eliminated, use work equipment to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall.
Always consider measures that protect everyone at risk, such as platforms and guardrails, before measures that only protect the individual, such as safety harnesses.

In need of specialist safety support?

At Ellis Whittam, we help 17,700 businesses across the UK to operate compliantly by working closely with them to find sensible, proportionate solutions to all health and safety challenges. Our personalised, fixed-fee service gives you access to a named Health & Safety Consultant for support at any time, reducing time spent on health and safety management, eliminating guesswork, and giving you peace of mind that your business is protected.

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