Monday 3 March 2014

Plaxtons fined £32,000 after fall from height

Alexander Dennis Ltd., otherwise known as as Plaxtons was fined £32,000 (inc. costs) on 24 February 2014 after a worker fell from height whilst working on  a gantry.
The circumstances were:
  • On 7 June 2012, a worker was preparing the top level of a double-decker bus for painting at the Plaxtons site in Anston, South Yorkshire, where vehicles are repaired and refurbished.
  • The four gantries for this type of work were unstable and inadequately guarded.
  • Only two had a single metal bar hinged across the access steps and none had inner guard rails to properly protect employees from falls. 
  • They did not extend the length of a bus so workers would move along by pushing against the vehicle while standing on the gantries, which were set on wheels but with no brakes.
  • Plaxtons had not provided employees with a safe method of working at height and had failed to suitably train them to carry out that type of work.
  • The platform the worker was on did not have a gate or bar fitted to the access steps. 
  • As he worked on the bus exterior, he moved closer to the open edge, took a step too far, lost his balance and fell 2m to the ground.
  •  He suffered head injuries, a broken and dislocated elbow and a fractured big toe.

The HSE Inspector  said:
“Alexander Dennis Ltd did not properly assess the risks its workers faced in performing their day-to-day work and the gantries provided to them were obviously not fit for purpose. In addition, the workers themselves had not been given the right training for working at height, which is one of the most dangerous elements in any industry. For a company of its size and reputation, I would have hoped that Alexander Dennis would be setting the standards in safety at its sites. Instead, this is one of a number of cases in the recent past where HSE has had to take enforcement action against the company. Work at height is inherently fraught with risk and falls remain the single biggest cause of deaths and serious injury.
Source: HSE 24 February 2014

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