Thursday 18 July 2013

Skip company fined over work at height issues

Simpson Eco Skips Ltd., was fined on 17th July for dangerous working practices and other failings arising from its storage of skips.
The circumstances were:
  • Skips were stacked, some to heights around 10m.
  • Workers had the practice of ascending stacks with nothing to prevent or mitigate a fall.
  • HSE inspectors witnessed a worker descending from a 10m high stack.
  • They also witnessed a second worker clambering up and down a smaller stack just a few metres away.
  • This clearly-dangerous practice is indicative of poor management and a lack of competence and training.
  • Simpson Eco Skips also failed to produce a valid certificate for the crane in use at the time to confirm it had been properly examined and was in good working order – as is required by law.

Simpson Eco Skips Ltd was fined £31,260 (inc. costs) after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc., Act and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. 5 improvement notices were also served.
The HSE Inspector commented:
"Standards for controlling risks arising from working at height, as well as the general management of health and safety, can be pretty poor in the skip hire sector of the waste industry – as was clearly the case at Simpson Eco Skips. The failings we uncovered were for technical breaches, but workers could have been seriously hurt or possibly even killed as a consequence of the dangerous practices and lack of safety awareness and provisions. The onus is on dutyholders to take proactive steps to protect and safeguard their workforce and others before an incident occurs."

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