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Shipping company fined after worker paralysed

22 January 2020

A SHIPPING company was fined for safety breaches after a worker was paralysed from the waist down when he fell 3.4 metres to the bottom of a ships hold.

Beverley Magistrates’ Court heard that on 15 May 2017, the 28-year-old worker, a stevedores employed by Thor Shipping and Transport UK Ltd, was unloading Merchant Vessel Frej at No 3 Quay, Hull Docks. He lost his footing and fell through an access ladder gap in the walkway.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that for the stevedores to inspect all the cargo from port to starboard it was custom and practice for them to step over an access ladder gap on the walkway to get to the other side. The stevedore made his way along the walkway and went to step over the gap. He was astride the gap, holding onto the guard rail, when his high-vis jacket got caught on an eyebolt on the rails. He took his hand off the rail and turned to free his jacket when he lost his footing and fell through the gap to the bottom of the hold.

Thor Shipping and transport UK Ltd of Stone House, North Street, Goole pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and to Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company has been fined £120,000.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham commented: “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries.

“In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place.”