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"Lack of control and supervision" blamed for fatal fall at Whirlpool UK factory

Written by Phoenix Health & Safety
28th March 2017

A 66-year old self-employed contractor fell 5 metres and died later from his injuries while working on a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP) at the Whirlpool UK factory in Yate, near Bristol. He had been installing fire detection equipment when maintenance workers started an overhead conveyor, unaware of his presence nearby.

At Phoenix Health & Safety we offer a range of courses that can help companies to avoid such serious injuries to workers, along with the financial losses and reputational damage that follow from prosecution. These include the IOSH Managing Safely course: a qualification that enables supervisors and managers to organise safe working procedures and practices in the workplace. 

In this case, Bristol Crown Court heard that the accident took place on 21 March 2015. The movement of the conveyor caused the MEWP to tip over and the 66-year-old man fell to the factory floor. HSE investigators found there had been no effective control or supervision in place to prevent the conflicting work tasks from being undertaken at the same time. 

Whirlpool UK Appliances pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £700,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,466. 

Commenting later, HSE inspector Matt Tyler said:

“This is a tragic case where the incident could have been prevented if the company had planned and controlled the work properly".