This article was published on May 8th, 2012
A farming business based in North Devon has been prosecuted for failing to provide its employees with a safe working environment.
The sentence came after a farm worker fractured his skull when he fell from the prong of a forklift truck at an animal feed mill.
The 64-year-old worker was attempting to crush some recycled material when the fall occurred on the 3rd August last year.
His employer, WJ Watkins and Son Ltd, appeared before Barnstaple Magistrates in a prosecution that was brought to court by the Health and Safety Executive.
The court heard how the company’s employees had made up their own ways of working. Some workers were standing in suspended bags of recycled material in order to try and make more space.
The workplace did not provide any safe alternative for the men to carry out this procedure.
“The company did not give enough thought to how employees were going to work on the bags that were suspended in the air. They were allowed to use a very unsafe method because there was no fixed alternative available to them. As a result Richard Robinson could easily have paid with his life,” said a member of the investigation team.
“Working at height must be properly planned and supervised, and employers must ensure their staff have a safe system in place to prevent further incidents of this kind.”
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