Company to pay out more than £150,000 after worker was impaled

Leeds-based Country Style Foods Ltd has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker was impaled upon a set of airline-style steps.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that on 18 September 2018, the employee was working at height on a set of steps to reach and clean the top oven in a stack of horizontal ovens.

He slipped whilst on the working platform of these steps and became impaled upon a section of the handrail. He suffered a torn artery and nerve damage resulting in hospitalisation for several days.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the steps had been adapted for a different task, which created an additional risk when used for this work. Whilst a scissor lift was present on the site, the employee involved was not trained in its use.

Country Style Foods, of Pontefract Lane, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £11,589 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Darian Dundas said: “The company failed to appropriately plan and supervise work at height leading to it being undertaken using a set of steps, which were inappropriate for the task.

“This incident was easily preventable, and the risk should have been more clearly identified and appropriately addressed.

“HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies that fail to implement safe systems of work.”

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