The owner of a skip hire firm in Bacup has been fined after he was filmed putting an employee’s life in danger by lifting him in a digger bucket.
Christopher Jones was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a concerned member of the public videoed the incident at Shadlock Skips on Newchurch Road on 1 May 2013.
Burnley Magistrates’ Court heard last week (16 May 2014) that Mr Jones, 44 from Rossendale, and an employee had been trying to remove a small piece of damaged plywood above the main shutter doors.
No measures were put in place to prevent the worker falling around four metres from the bucket to the ground below.
The court was told much safer methods of carrying out the work were available on the site. These included attaching a man-riding cage to the front of the vehicle or simply using a ladder.
HSE Inspector David Myrtle – “Falls from height are a major cause of workplace deaths in Great Britain. It’s for this reason that HSE takes work at height seriously and expects employers, such as Mr Jones, to do the same”
Mr Jones previously received a warning from HSE less than two months before the incident after the same employee was witnessed riding on top of a fully laden skip wagon as it reversed into the site.
Christopher Jones, of West View Road in Rossendale, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,039 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 on 16 May 2014.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David Myrtle said: “Falls from height are a major cause of workplace deaths in Great Britain. It’s for this reason that HSE takes work at height seriously and expects employers, such as Mr Jones, to do the same.
“He knew that raising his employee in the bucket of the telehandler was wrong but thought that since the job would only take a minute it would be ok.
“That minute has cost Mr Jones dearly but had the employee fallen from the bucket then the cost to him and his family would have been immeasurable. It’s never ok to put someone’s life in danger – no matter how long it lasts.”