College hit with five-figure fine after employee fall
Burnley College has received a £20,000 fine after one of its employees was seriously injured following a fall from a three-metre height.
The staff member was working on extraction system air filter when the accident happened. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the prosecution after its investigation found the college had not met its duty to ensure the work was safely carried out.
The incident happened, Preston Crown Court was told in October, when the 63-year-old worker lost his footing trying to reach the filter to carry out essential maintenance on it. Falling to the ground sideways, the worker hit a bench as he fell. He broke his back in numerous places and shattered his breastbone as a result of the fall.
The worker has already spent more than five months off work due to his injuries, and will need to take strong pain medication throughout his life. He has also had to stop many manual tasks he otherwise used to do on a daily basis.
The investigation by the HSE also found a failure by the employee’s boss to improve working conditions after monitoring the work earlier. A lack of adequate training for working at height was also discovered.
Furthermore, the investigation found that no risk assessments had been undertaken by the college after it moved into its new building five years ago.
Along with the £20,000 fine, the college was ordered to pay £7,600 after entering a guilty plea.