Firm fined £320,000 for safety breach after workers fall from scaffolding - The Leamington Observer

Firm fined £320,000 for safety breach after workers fall from scaffolding

Leamington Editorial 16th Nov, 2023   0

A SHOPPING trolleys manufacturer based in Warwick has been fined £320,000 after two men fell when a metal cage they were dismantling collapsed beneath them.

The two employees of Wanzl Limited were taking apart a large metal cage as part of an ongoing programme of improvement works at Prologis Park in Coventry in May 2018.

Following a visual inspection, a decision was made by Wanzl to hire scaffold towers and scaffolding boards to carry out the work.

Once the scaffold towers had been erected the two employees accessed the roof of the cage. They began to remove panels one at a time dropping them to the floor inside the walls of the cage.




But when several of the panels had been removed the employees noticed the cage shook in response to movement and the roof then suddenly gave way and both employees fell to the floor below.

One of the men, Michael Barton, who was 52 at the time, suffered a broken pelvis and injured his hip and arm after the fall of around three metes. The now 57 year old was off work for 12 months following the incident.


An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the work had not been properly planned, appropriately supervised, or carried out in a manner that was safe.

No consideration was given to whether dismantling the structure could be carried out without working at height or if the work was within the capabilities of the company’s employees.

None of the employees involved were trained in the assembly of scaffolding towers, and the injured man was not trained in working at height.

An investigation by Coventry City Council came to the same conclusion before primacy was handed to HSE.

At Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, Heathcote-based Wanzl pleaded guilty to breaching a working at height regulation and was fined £320,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Charlotte Cunniffe said: “Working at height remains one of the leading causes of death and serious injury to workers in the United Kingdom.

“All work at height, including one-off activities which fall outside of a company’s usual business should be properly planned and appropriate work equipment selected. Employers must assess the competency of their employees when asking them to carry out non-routine work.”

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