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15th September 2021

Fencing Manufacturer And Landlord Fined After Fatality

What’s Happened?

A fencing manufacturer and the owner of the yard where the business operates, have both recently been fined following the death of an employee at the site.

An employee of PA Fencing Ltd was working within the yard area. At the time a telescopic forklift (telehandler) was also being used to move timber. It was lifted too high by the operative and subsequently tipped over, knocking over some stacked timber which unfortunately fell on to the employee resulting in his death.

HSE Investigation 

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found a long list of serious Health and Safety issues which contributed to the accident.

Firstly the HSE identified that the telehandler’s safety device (which is designed to stop loads being lifted so high) had not worked for a long time and maintenance had failed to identify this. Furthermore, the machine operator had not received full training in its use and the machine was regularly used to lift overly heavy loads.

Moreover – the yard supervisor did not know how the machine should be used safely and the yard wasn’t laid out properly to allow for the safe stacking of material.

The investigation also found that PA Fencing Ltd shared the machine with Mr Crossman, the Landlord who owns the neighbouring farm and rents the yard to PA Fencing Ltd. Neither PA Fencing Ltd nor Mr Crossman had ensured that the machine was properly maintained nor that it was independently thoroughly examined, a test which must be done at least annually under The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998.

In Court

In Court P A Fencing Limited of Unit 4 Westfield Business Park, Bristol, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £35,000.00 with an order to pay costs of £7,500.00.

The Landlord – Mr Crossman of Ham Farm, Ham Lane, Yatton,  pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 9(3) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £3,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £7,500.00.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector involved in the case said:

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply ensuring that the vehicle in question had been properly maintained and thoroughly examined.

“This failure was compounded by PA Fencing Ltd not ensuring their yard was set up to safely store timber or that their drivers were properly trained and appropriately supervised.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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