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Company fined following fatality at South Yorkshire site

14 November 2017

A wood waste company was sentenced today for safety breaches after a worker was killed when he fell four metres from a walking floor trailer in South Yorkshire while manually un-sheeting the unit.

Paul Littlewood died from his injuries following the incident at R Plevin & Sons’ site in Hazlehead.

The trailer access to the work platform located at the front was protected by a single manually fastened wire rope. The rope is normally fastened to a vertical post with a carabiner. At the time of the incident, which took place on 30 June 2014 the wire rope was hanging loose and the access point was unprotected.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that R Plevin & Sons had not carried out a suitable and sufficient assessment for sheeting and un-sheeting trailers. No automatic sheeting was used and the protection provided was inadequate to protect workers from the risk of falls.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the firm over the incident.

R Plevin & Sons of Cheshire Street Mossley Ashton Under Lyne Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined £216,000 and ordered to pay costs of £31,266.54.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Tim Johnson commented: “The incident could have easily been prevented by providing either automatic sheeting or self-closing gates similar to those at the access point on Mobile Elevated Work Platforms, coupled with a double guard rail along the length of the work platform.

“It is a requirement to carry out suitable planning for significant risks such as working at height. The sheeting and un-sheeting of lorry trailers is clearly working at height and the company should have identified the risks and control measures necessary to prevent this fatal accident.”