A fencing manufacturer has been fined after a worker suffered serious injury.

The employee had been manually packing fencing panels into shipping containers when some 34 insecurely loaded panels fell on him.

Dangerous procedure  

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found suitable controls were not in place to prevent panels from falling.

Investigators found the manufacturer had failed to make sure:  

  • the work was sufficiently planned
  • risks were assessed and controlled
  • a safe system of work was in place

Identical incidents

The HSE said two previous incidents of fences falling on workers in identical situations should have acted as a warning that the loading procedure was dangerous.

Blok N Mesh Limited pleaded guilty to breaking the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It was fined £260,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,177.

The HSE said the incident could readily have been avoided by making sure workers were not in a dangerous situation where unsecured fence panels could easily fall and cause injury.

The HSE added if the company had heeded the warning served by the previous incidents, the serious injuries could have been prevented.

Specially designed stillages that remove the need for workers to be inside containers have since significantly reduced the risk of injury.

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