Logistics Firm Prosecuted Over Worker Fall

Loading Ramp Accident In Kent Leads To HSE Prosecution

02.07.2014

A logistics firm has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over an incident in which an agency worker suffered a broken leg after falling off a loading ramp.

Northampton-based Yusen Logistics was investigated after the 49-year-old man sustained a fracture of the thigh bone after falling 1.5 metres from a ramp as he was unloading fridges from a trailer-mounted shipping container at the firm's site on the Isle of Grain in Kent in November 2013.

The injuries left the man unable to work for three months and prompted the HSE to investigate what had happened.

Medway Magistrates were told company practice was to unload containers while mounted on a trailer if they arrived by road, whereas those coming in by sea were unloaded at ground level. In the case of the trailer, the new loading ramp did not have any edge protection in place, unlike the two other ramps the company already had. This meant he had no protection when he lost balance.

Yusen Logistics (UK) admitted to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 in the hearing. The company was fined £11,000 with costs of £1,067.

Commenting after the hearing, HSE inspector Rob Hassell said: “This incident and the worker’s subsequent painful injury were entirely preventable. Yusen Logistics failed to make sure the new ramp was fitted with additional edge protection, despite the fact it had two ramps with this type of essential guarding installed.

“Employers should identify where additional edge protection should be provided to safeguard their employees and other workers and then take the necessary action."

Mr Hassell added that falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of death and serious injury in UK workplaces.

HSE's guidance on the prevention of falls from height involving vehicles advises employers that they have a legal duty to ensure nobody can fall a distance sufficient to hurt them.

This guidance notes that causes of such falls often include slips and trips, bad weather, inappropriate footwear and poor training.

Expert Opinion
A case of this kind highlights the huge consequences that falls from height can have on victims, often leaving them with serious injuries for which they require long-term care and rehabilitation.

"We help a huge number of workers affected by problems of this nature to gain justice regarding safety failings and also get access to funds which ensure they can get support for their recovery.

"Health and safety should always be the number one priority for employers and lessons need to be learned from cases of this nature to ensure that such incidents can be prevented from occurring again in the future."
Stephen Nye, Partner