Egg supplier fined after worker sustains serious foot injury in fall from height


Foot InjuryAn egg supplier has been successfully prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an accident in which a female worker sustained a serious foot injury.

The unnamed 43-year-old woman fell through the floor of a poultry barn in July 2011, fracturing two bones in her left ankle and the heel of her right foot. She had worked as an egg packer at the company for 6 years, but has been unable to return to work as a result of the serious foot injury.

The Magistrates’ Court heard that the floor of the barn had been removed by building contractors – but no warning sign were put in place to advise workers of the works taking place on the other side of the barn door.

The female worker opened the door – which she used regularly in the course of her employment – and fell into the hole left by the contractors. She dropped two metres onto a concrete floor below, shattering bones in both ankles and sustaining a serious foot injury from which she is still recovering.

She had had to have two plates inserted into her left ankle and has undergone further surgery on this ankle since the accident. The worker now has impaired mobility.

The firm pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6(3) and 11 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £2,386 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Lyn Mizen said:

“This worker suffered serious injuries in this incident and has been unable to return to work."

“And after enduring a lengthy and painful recuperation process, she still suffers from restricted movement in her ankles, finding it difficult to walk very far.”

The HSE investigation found that no written risk assessments or basic instructions existed to protect workers – and that the flooring work had only been discussed verbally.

The company had not identified any safeguards to prevent a fall from height and had not put in place any protection measures.

HSE Inspector Lyn Mizen added:

“This incident could have easily been prevented if a suitable risk assessment had been carried out – fundamental and basic measures such as nailing the door shut or posting warning signs had not been taken."

“Bean bags or air bags underneath the hole would have provided appropriate and relatively inexpensive fall protection for all employees – clear guidance on working at height is available from HSE and it is regrettable that the company failed to follow this.”

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