The importance of fully assessing the risks from working at height and acting to prevent injury has again been underlined after family-owned bakery Warburtons was fined £2million.

The court heard a worker was cleaning a mixing machine when he lost his footing and fell some two metres. His back was broken in the fall.

No height working training

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found workers were “routinely” expected to access the top of mixers to clean them. But the watchdog declared workers had no training on working at height and weren’t adequately supervised.

Workers were often unbalanced and would brace themselves to stop falling. Warburtons’ own Health & Safety committee had highlighted the risk of the cleaning activity but nothing was put in place to protect workers until after the incident.

Sentence

Warburtons Limited failed to control the risk of falls from height. It accepted it broke the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £2million with costs of £19,600.

The HSE all too familiarly said the incident was preventable.

Falling from height is one of the biggest workplace killers and even falls from fairly low levels can be extremely dangerous.

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