Prosecutions Follow Poultry Farm Safety Failings

HSE Takes Action Against Farm And Four Contractors

25.07.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted a poultry company and four contractors after inspectors found a range of safety failings at a farm in Lincolnshire.

GW Padley Poultry found itself in trouble when inspectors visited the site at Wigtoft in March 2012 and found unsafe working at height was taking place.

Although the firm was the principal contractor, none of its representatives were present during operations. Instead, the work was taking place under the auspices of the Loughborough-based building suppliers Harlow Bros, who had contracted the construction work to K & M Tomlinson and Philip Bates.

Failings included a lack of edge protection, as well as a later failure to comply with a prohibition notice issued to K& M Thompson director Kenneth Tomlinson. Mr Bates was seen on the roof in a later visit and there were also faults including loose airbags, the misuse of a forklift truck to support a raised platform and the supply of a defective harness by Harlow Brothers.

In the court hearing, GW Padley Poultry pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 22(1)(a) and regulation 22(1)(c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. It was fined £9,000 with costs of £15,000.

Harlow Brothers pleaded guilty to two separate breaches of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, as well as a breach of Section 4(2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It was fined £30,000 with £15,000 costs.

K& W Thompson was fined £1,000 for contravening Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Section 5(1)(a) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, while its director Kenneth Thompson admitted a breach of Section 3(1) by virtue of section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £1,000 with costs of £3,000.

Finally, Mr Bates was fined £4,500 plus costs of £5,500 for an infringement of Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE inspector Martin Waring said all the defendants had displayed a "very poor attitude to health and safety" at the site.

Expert Opinion
The health and safety of workers, contractors and the general public should always be a top priority for employers. However, in this case, like so many we are instructed in relation to, indicates the dangers that can emerge when safety standards are not upheld. While workers were not injured at this particular place of business, it is vital employers ensure that they take action to protect their workers, which includes supplying the well-maintained equipment and providing the appropriate training required to operate heavy machinery correctly.

“Lessons must be learned to ensure that the highest possible standards of safety in the workplace are always enforced by employers and their contractors. Falls from height are common type of accident at work, the consequences of which can be devastating. Clear regulations are in place in respect of working at height and if they are adhered to, many accidents will be avoided, so it is encouraging that the HSE continues to take these cases so seriously."
Stephen Nye, Partner