The Daily Telegraph
4 Fore Street
LONDON, EC2Y 5DT
7 June 2006
Richard Tyler's reporting of HSE's prosecution of Clingfoil Ltd implies that HSE has nothing better to do than prosecute undeserving companies.
Falls from height are the single biggest killer of workers in Great Britain. Last year there were 53 workplace fatalities and 3783 reported workplace injuries as a result of a fall from height. 2274 of those falls were from below head height. As well as the pain and suffering endured by employees and their families, workplace falls cost society approximately £89 million per year.
As well as investigating incidents, inspectors deal with preventing deaths and injuries in the workplace. We make no apology for taking the view that we should try to head off potential accidents before they occur.
Having ignored HSE advice to carry out working at height risk assessments and to purchase an easy to use 'auto tipping skip' (approximately £822.00), eliminating the need to work at height, it was the company's choice to risk being prosecuted.
The Chair of the Magistrates' Bench agreed that there was a case for prosecuting Clingfoil Ltd; it was reasonably practicable to carry out the box maker's work activity safely and without working at height. Clingfoil Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations. The Court set the level of the fine considering the mitigating factors presented to it and awarded HSE costs of £1090.80.