During a number of visits by HSE to a small dock company a range of work at height issues were identified. The issues included:
An employee was witnessed by a Health And Safety Inspector standing on the top of a road tanker whilst it was being reversed into position under an outload area with no handrails, safety harnesses or other means in place to prevent the individual falling off. This was later found to be common practice and resulted in a Prohibition notice being issued.
A magnet detecting device (approximately 5ms above the ground) was accessed regularly by workers using a pallet on a forklift truck, which was neither secured nor had protection in place top prevent a person falling. A Prohibition notice was issued for this activity.
An inspection hatch on top of a silo, which was regularly used by employees, had handrails on only 3 sides. The unguarded side had a drop of approximately 25 feet (approximately 7.5 metres). A Prohibition notice was served on the area.
The company did not have suitable and sufficient risk assessments in place to properly plan work at height. An Improvement Notice was served requiring the company to conduct suitable and sufficient risk assessments.
In all 7 Prohibition Notices (PN) and one Improvement Notice was served on the company. A proactive prosecution was also brought against the company for its poor standards in dealing with risks from working at height. 5 informations were laid against the company under the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The charges covered planning and supervision; training and competence; suitable and sufficient measures to prevent injury from a fall from height; provision of suitable guards and work equipment inspection.
The company pleaded guilty to all offences and was fined a total of £12,500 (£2,500 per breach). HSE was awarded full costs of £2908.40.
During an inspection of a food premises the interlocks on 2 pie machines had been defeated and the associated guards removed. Guarding on 3 sausage roll\pasty machines was also found to be inadequate and in need of repair.
Two Prohibition Notices were issued, preventing the use of the pie machines until access to dangerous parts of the machinery had been prevented. The dutyholder complied with the notices by refitting the guards & ensuring that the interlocks were correctly installed.
Three Improvement Notices were also issued, requiring the company to improve guarding arrangements on each of the sausage roll\pasty machines. The employer complied with the notices, allocating time to the repair that could have been more profitably spent in other areas of the business .