Wincanton Group has been fined £120,000 after an employee suffered serious injuries when drainage pipes he was unstrapping fell on him.
Chelmsford Crown Court was told how in 2015 the driver was unloading the 3m-long plastic pipes at a site in Braintree, Essex, when they fell, causing him to fall to the ground, resulting in facial injuries, and a broken nose and arm. During the investigation, it was found that Wincanton did not have suitable load plans in place for the type of product involved.
The investigation also revealed inadequacies in the company’s risk assessments, safe systems of work, supervision, monitoring and training at the site. Wincanton pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to comply with Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and was ordered to pay full costs of £29,540 to Braintree District Council, which brought the prosecution.
Councillor Wendy Schmitt, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment and place at Braintree District Council, said: “This was a shocking breach of workplace health and safety law that resulted in an employee being left with nasty injuries. I hope this prosecution sends out a message that there are serious consequences if health and safety laws are breached and Braintree District Council will deal with these robustly.”
A statement from Wincanton said the company was saddened by the accident and works incredibly hard to protect its people, customers and the general public at all times. “Our investigations found inadequate risk assessments, monitoring and training in place, as well as an unsafe system of work,” it added.
“We have ensured that the learnings from this case have been applied across our business and health and safety continues to be our number one priority. We accept the penalty that has been imposed but are pleased that the judge recognised that the company has a positive and proactive safety culture and is a responsible and considerate employer.”