Firm fined £35,000 after worker suffers fractured back and broken leg in cherry picker fall

PUBLISHED: 16:39 28 April 2014 | UPDATED: 16:39 28 April 2014

A firm has been fined £35,000 after a cherry picker accident

A firm has been fined £35,000 after a cherry picker accident

Archant

A power distribution firm has been fined £35,000 for safety failings after a worker fractured his back and broke his leg in a cherry picker fall.

Nicholas Chenery, 33, of Stowmarket, suffered a compound fracture to the left leg and three fractured vertebrae to his lower spine in the incident in the incident at Chipping, on the A10 between Royston and Buntingford, in August 2012.

The Freedom Group of Companies Ltd (FGCL) has been fined after an investigation found that more could and should have been done to prevent his fall.

Mr Chenery was one of three workers who were rigging three overhead lines that were approximately 500 metres apart.

One of these lines was secured to the cherry picker that carried Mr Chenery, and this got pulled over by a dumper truck during the installation process, causing the victim to fall, in the cherry picker’s bucket, from a height of 12 metres.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that FGCL had fallen well below their own in-house standards regarding the planning, managing and monitoring of such a routine operation, particularly with regards to communication.

HSE Inspector John Berezansky, said: “Work at height of this nature is inherently high-risk, and it has to be properly planned, controlled and supervised.

“In this instance, the two teams involved in the task were separated by some 500 metres. Radios and mobile phones were provided; however the level of communication was poor and ambiguous, and the supervision of the task was sub-standard. FGCL should have ensured that the system they had in place was robust enough to deal with the risk.

“Without such a system in place, and in the absence of appropriate supervision, the workers became exposed to a much higher level of risk throughout the operation – especially Mr Chenery, who was in the most vulnerable position in the cherry picker bucket some 12 metres up in the air.

“He sustained serious injuries as a direct result of FGCL’s failure to manage the risks of this operation.”

FHCL, of Bradford Road, Tingley, West Yorkshire, was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £11,272 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

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