Renault dealer JDS Trucks has been fined £9,900 after one of its employees was seriously injured when he fell from the roof of a cab.
The company, which provides parts and servicing for operators, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its garage on Forrest Street, Blackburn in December 2009.
Accrington Magistrates’ Court was told how the 47-year-old from Darwen had climbed onto the roof to assess whether a wind deflector needed to be fitted.
However, he fell three metres after trying to step onto a ladder from the top of the cab, and fractured his hip and left elbow.
The court also heard that the ladder had not been secured and no one else was there to help him. It was four months before the man – who does not wish to be named – was able to return to work.
JDS Trucks pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and one breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was also ordered to pay £4,613 costs.
In a statement, JDS Trucks says an independent health and safety audit carried out in May 2009 had highlighted the issue of fitters using ladders, and the firm immediately advised all staff that using ladders to fit wind deflectors must cease.
“This included the fitter involved in this incident – who was a very experienced and senior member of staff. We immediately purchased alternative equipment, which included a mobile access platform,” a spokesman for the company adds.
“All staff were advised to use this platform and indeed the fitter involved did use the platform a number of times. However, on this occasion, he decided not to use the platform and instead decided to revert to the old practice of using a ladder.
“This was unknown to our management team. The fitter then slipped while using this ladder and the injuries were sustained.”
JDS says two of the three offences prosecuted by the HSE did not relate directly to the ladder slipping.
The spokesman continues: “While the third offence did relate to the ladder slipping, the court accepted that the fitter, having been expressly told not to use this equipment, should not have been using the ladder in any event and should instead have used the platform that had been provided”.
Since the incident, JDS has upgraded its gantry for safe working at height, and implemented a safe system of work for fitting wind deflectors.
Shellie Bee, HSE inspector, says: “Ladders do have a use in the workplace and in some situations are appropriate – with the correct training and if they’re properly secured.”