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Company fined after worker severely injured following fall from height

A family-owned and run farming business has today been fined after an employee sustained severe injuries following a fall from height.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how, on 29 November 2017, Alan Twatt (Potatoes) Limited asked an employee to install an electric cable through four barns at a height of approximately 4 metres. A potato box lifted by a forklift was used as a working platform. The worker fell approximately 2.5-3.5 metres and suffered a head injury as well as multiple fractures.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the potato box was inherently unsafe and should not have been used with the forklift truck in any circumstances. Further, the company had failed to follow their own procedures in relation to safe working at height. 

Alan Twatt (Potatoes) Limited of Commerce House, South Street, Elgin, Moray pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Banff and has been fined £40,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector, Norman Schouten said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by using the correct equipment, such as a scissor lift. A potato box or other makeshift equipment is never a suitable platform for working at height.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. Further information is available about the legislation referred to in this case.
  3. Latest HSE press releases.
Updated: 2018-12-11