Fruit farm prosecuted for unsafe work at height

A Kent fruit farm has been fined for safety failings after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation following a reportable incident.

The farm manager at Paynes Stores Limited (PSL) fell from his ladder while carrying out repair work on the roof of an apple store at Bexon Manor Farm, Bredgar, near Sittingbourne on December 2014, suffering fractured ribs and a punctured lung.

Following this reported incident, an HSE investigation found that in the same month a self-employed contractor working at PSL undertook further repair work by standing in an apple box raised at height by a fork lift truck.

Sevenoaks Magistrates Court heard that PSL had been allowing roof work to be undertaken with no controls or training specific to the tasks.

Paynes Stores Ltd was fined £18,600 and ordered to pay a further £9,173 in costs after pleading guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and of the Working at Height Regulations.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Joanne Williams said: "I hope this prosecution makes it clear to employers that they need to properly manage the risks of working at height and that HSE will not hesitate to take action against those who fall short of the law in such a way."


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