A Leeds printing business has been prosecuted for regularly putting its workers in danger during routine stocktaking at its factory in Wortley.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told Leeds Magistrates today (30 Nov) that First Class Post Ltd allowed employees to be lifted to heights of almost six metres in a box perched on a forklift truck. The plastic box wasn’t fixed to the forklift and there was no protection from falls for the workers.
The court was told HSE brought the prosecution after finding out about the company’s stocktaking practice.
An HSE investigation discovered employees were regularly put at risk during quarterly stock checks. They were lifted five to six metres in an unsuitable plastic box or a cage balanced on the forks of the truck. The risk of falling was magnified as there was no way to secure the box to the truck forks and no fixing points in the box to which a safety harness could be attached.
First Class Post Ltd of Silver Royd Business Park, Wortley, pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The firm was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,041 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Newton said:
“It was luck rather than good management that there had not been a serious injury at First Class Post as a result of this reckless working practice. I hope this prosecution will prevent one happening in future.
“Putting employees at risk in this way is simply not acceptable. If the company had complied with the law requiring work at height to be properly planned and carried out safety under supervision, it would not have had to face this charge.
“The dangers of falls at work are well known. In 2010/11 38 people died as a result of a workplace fall in Great Britain and more than 4,000 suffered a major injury.
For information and advice on safe working at height, go to www.hse.gov.uk/falls