Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Bathroom company fined after worker seriously injured.
A Yorkshire bathroom company has been fined £40,000 for health and safety failings after a member of staff suffered series head injuries after a three-tonne piece of equipment was blown onto him.
Harrison Bathrooms, which bas a warehouse in Keighley, where the incident happened in January 2019, was told by Bradford Magistrates that it could had been fined £100,000, but an early guilty plea, and an otherwise unblemished health and safety record, led to the fine being reduced.
The worker, Joshua Degler, was injured when a large retractable tent used to keep goods in a storage yard was blown over by a gust of wind. He was pinned between the three tonne structure and the concrete floor, and suffered injuries to his head and torso.
A forklift truck was needed to lift the structure off him, and he was flown to hospital by air ambulance.
Prosecuting for Bradford Council, Sarah Barlow, told the court that the company had no written instructions for staff on how to use the retractable tent, and no risk assessment on the equipment or formal staff training on how to safely use it.
She said Mr Degler had not co-operated with the prosecution so the court had to assume he had made a full recovery. The company had paid compensation following a civil case.
She added: "It appears that it is a well run company that took health and safety seriously and this case is best described as saying they made a mistake."
Mr Horgan, representing Harrison Bathrooms, said the accident had a major impact on the company, and its managing director, Mr Harrison, felt personally responsible.
He said that the incident was a ‘one off’ for a company that took health and safety very seriously, and there had been no similar incidents since. Only a handful of the company's 100 employees would have ever had accesses the equipment, and no members of the public would have been put at risk.
District judge, Richard Clews, said that for a company such as Harrison Bathrooms, with a £28m turnover, the starting point for a fine would be £100,000. The business had pleaded guilty and cooperated fully.
He added: "Other than this, it has a good record of safety and care of its employees, and, after the incident, took more than sufficient steps to right the wrong.”
As well as the £40,000 fine, the company was ordered to pay £5,421 costs and a £170 surcharge.
After the case, Bradford Council’s executive member for healthy people and places, coun Sarah Ferriby, said:: “I would warn all businesses to learn from incidents like this. The company was very fortunate it was not an even more serious accident than it was.
“Whenever a business introduces new equipment, or changes how they work, a full safety risk assessment needs to be carried out along with adequately training. No business would want an incident like this on their conscience and Bradford Council will take action against any business which does not take adequate measures to keep their staff and customers safe.”