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Feed firm is fined for driver's injuries in lorry fall

A Devon firm has been prosecuted after a driver suffered severe injuries when he fell from the top of a lorry onto a concrete floor while removing the cover from his load at a Wiltshire feed mill.

Lee Waters fell from the tipper truck because Mole Valley Feed Solutions had failed to put basic safety measures in place to ensure the large cover could be taken off safely.

Chippenham Magistrates Court heard today (29 May) that Mr Waters, of Devizes, who was 34 at the time of the incident, delivered grain on a tipper truck to customers.

He was removing the cover from his vehicle's load at the Mole Valley's feed mill at the Porte Marsh industrial estate in Calne on 8 July 2011 when he fell from the steps of his lorry.

He suffered a fractured pelvis and wrist and was hospitalised for seven days. He was unable to leave his house unassisted and was off work for 11 weeks while he recovered. Since the incident he has been told he will regain only 80% of the use of his wrist and has been diagnosed with arthritis.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who brought the prosecution.

Mole Valley Feed Solutions Ltd, of Station Road, South Molton, Devon pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £4,087 in costs.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Ian Whittles said:

"Mole Valley Feed Solutions failed to ensure Mr Waters' safety while he was unloading on their site. As a result he has been caused a great deal of pain and suffering.

"Simple measures could have been taken such as providing a long-handled crank handle to operate the sheet from the ground. This arrangement is commonly provided in lorries for such purposes.

"It is vital that employers provide the right equipment for their staff to do their job safely when working at height."

Further information on working at height can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/index.htm

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 6(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states:
    "Every employer shall ensure that work is not carried out at height where it is reasonably practicable to carry out the work safely otherwise than at height."
  3. HSE information and news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press

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Issued on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive by COI News and PR (South West)

Updated 2012-05-29