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10th April 2024

Tip Off To HSE Results In £100,000 Fine

Ship in a shipyard

A video of a worker using a pallet on the raised forks of a forklift as a working platform in July 2022 was sent to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) by a member of the public.

The worker was seen standing on the pallet to remove items from the deck of a ship at Ramsgate Harbour.

Scaffolding had previously been installed to allow safe access to the deck, however, it had been removed and so workers decided to conduct the unsafe activity to get their job done.

As the scene unfolded, a worker was witnessed ducking under the ship’s guard rails and climbing onto the raised pallet which was already occupied by an industrial pressure washer.

Thankfully nobody was hurt, however, upon reviewing the video footage, the HSE investigated the employing company – European Active Projects Ltd (EAP).

Section 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states that ‘Every employer shall ensure that work at height is

  1. properly planned;
  2. appropriately supervised and
  3. carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe.’

It is to a breach of this regulation that EAP pled guilty and was levied with a £100,000 fine and ordered to pay costs of £5,730.

If the HSE’s investigation had been under different circumstances, and was the result of an accident or incident, the fine would likely have been considerably higher.

Falls from height continue to be the biggest cause of fatal workplace accidents. To that end, any working at height activity should be planned, supervised and reviewed.

A risk assessment should be developed along with a safe system of work for the task. These should be communicated to all workers involved who should then be subject to supervision from management.

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