Woodworking company fined £150k after worker injured

May 2021

A company has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker was struck by objects falling from an articulated trailer.

The Court heard that in July 2019, the 45-year-old worker had been unloading the bottom deck of the double deck articulated trailer, which was being used for overflow storage at the company’s site.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the trailer was being used to store mainly composite decking on the lower deck. The upper deck contained packs of MDF architrave, timber stock, and various promotional materials.

Another operative needed to place a pallet of decking on the bottom deck, and to make more space to do that he removed a side support, which helped to hold the top deck of the trailer up. However, another side support had already been disengaged and when the second support was removed the loaded top deck of the trailer partially collapsed. Part of a pack of architrave slid off the top deck and hit the worker. He suffered a broken left femur and other bones in his left foot.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £1,719 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, An HSE inspector said, “The use of the trailer as a storage facility had not been properly risk assessed. This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply using correct control measures and safe working practices.”