Aberdeen firm sentenced after worker injured in fall

An engineering services company has been fined for safety failings after a worker was injured when he fell from the trailer bed of a lorry at its premises in Aberdeen.

Kenneth Morrison, 61 at the time, was securing a load at the TDC (Aberdeen) Ltd site on 21 March 2012 when he lost his footing stepping down from the vehicle and fell to the ground.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard today (18 June) that Mr Morrison, a storeman and driver for the firm, had secured a load in the back of the lorry using ratchet straps. He took hold of the strap to steady himself as he stepped backwards over the side boards of the lorry, intending to use the side crash bar as a step down to the ground. But the strap came loose and he fell backwards onto the ground below.

Mr Morrison suffered minor head injuries and taken to hospital but was discharged the same day. He returned to work a few days later and has made a full recovery.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed TDC (Aberdeen) Ltd had failed to identify the risk of falls from vehicles and had not considered work on the lorries in that  context to be a hazard. As a result, no control measures had been put in place to prevent falls.

Employees had also not been given any training, information or instruction on how to carry out the task safely and a lack of supervision meant that they had each devised their own way of working.

Since the incident the company has carried out a task-specific risk assessment and introduced a number of simple safeguards. TDC (Aberdeen) Ltd, of Bankhead Industrial Estate, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, was fined £5,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.   Following the case, HSE Inspector Sarah Forbes, said:

“Thankfully Mr Morrison’s injuries were not as serious as they could have been – it could easily have been worse.

“But the fact remains that this incident could have been avoided in the first place and was the result of TDC (Aberdeen) Ltd failing to make sure its employees were adequately protected from the risks associated with their jobs.”

For more information about safe working at height log onto the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/index.htm

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. In Scotland the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has sole responsibility for the raising of criminal proceedings for breaches of health and safety legislation.
  3. Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
  4. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk/

Article source: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2014/aberdeen-firm-sentenced-after-worker-injured-in-fall/