Six figure fine for manufacturer as workers plunge 10 ft

Wanzi office based in Warwickshire

A Warwick-headquartered shopping trolley manufacturer has received a £320k fine after two workers experienced a ten-foot fall whilst dismantling a metal cage.

One of the Wanzel employees suffered a pelvic fracture and a 12-month work absence as a result of the fall.

The two individuals were working at Prologis Park in Coventry on May 12, 2018, where the decision had been made to rent scaffold towers and scaffolding boards.

Once installed, the two workers ascended to the cage’s roof and commenced the removal of panels, dropping them individually within the cage’s enclosed walls.

Only after removing several panels did the workers realise that the cage responded to the movement with a noticeable shake.

Suddenly, the roof collapsed, causing both employees to plummet approximately three meters to the ground.

Michael Barton, aged 52 at the time, suffered a broken pelvis, along with injuries to his hip and arm.

The now 57-year-old, living in Walsall, was absent from work for a year following the incident.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that the task lacked proper planning, supervision, and adherence to safety protocols.

The HSE noted a failure to consider if the structure’s dismantling could be done without working at heights or within the capabilities of the company’s employees.

The individuals involved lacked training in erecting scaffolding towers, and the injured man was not trained for working at heights.
Coventry City Council’s investigation reached the same conclusion before transferring the case to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Wanzl Limited, located on Heathcote Lane, Warwick, admitted guilt for violating Regulation 4(1) of the Working at Height Regulations 2005 at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on November 10 this year.

The company received a fine of £320,000 and was directed to cover costs amounting to £4,016.35.

HSE inspector Charlotte Cunniffe said: “Working at height remains one of the leading causes of death and serious injury to workers in the United Kingdom. All work at height, including one-off activities which fall outside of a company’s usual business should be properly planned and appropriate work equipment selected. Employers must assess the competency of their employees when asking them to carry out non-routine work.”

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