Two companies fined over £300,000 after worker falls from warehouse racking

In February 2016, work was being carried out to recommission a warehouse racking system at premises on Stopgate Lane, Simonswood. While working on this project, one of the workers fell 10 metres from the top of the racking system onto the concrete floor below, sustaining significant head injuries.

An investigation by the HSE found the main contractor Ortec BV had subcontracted the work to Mechantech Limited to undertake. There was no safe system of work in place, as none of the workers had safety harnesses and there were no physical barriers to prevent anyone from falling. The investigation also found Mechantech Limited had failed in its duty to ensure the health and safety of its own employees as it had not undertaken any risk assessment for working at height (incorrectly assuming that main contractor Ortec BV had done so).

Ortec BV, based in the Netherlands pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to pay fines of £300,000 and costs of £4,742.75.

Mechantech Limited of, Rossington, Doncaster pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been ordered to pay fines of £36, 666 and costs of £4,742.75.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Jane Carroll said, “Those in control of work have a responsibility to develop safe working methods and to ensure that their workers have the necessary information, instruction and training in that safe way of working. Had such a safe system of work been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented”.

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