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  3. Horticultural company fined following ladder incident

Following an incident that took place at a Cheshire site of William Sinclair Horticulture Limited, the company has been fined for breaches of health and safety regulations at two of its sites.

Darren Taylor, a worker aged 40, was working at the Ellesmere Port site of the company, helping with the cleaning of conveyor belts. In order to remove guards from the machinery, to facilitate cleaning, he used a ladder. The ladder moved as he climbed up, causing him to fall around 1.75 metres to the floor, resulting in serious injury.

An investigation of the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), found that a safe system of work had not been put in place for either the use of ladders or the cleaning of conveyor belts. A risk assessment for the process had not been carried out, and the workers conducting the cleaning had not been trained on how to use ladders in a safe manner.

The HSE had previously issued warnings to William Sinclair Horticulture Limited for unsafe working at height procedures, but the firm failed to act on the warnings. The company had also been given advice from HSE on the use of guards for the machinery, but this also went unheeded.

The firm was fined £30,000 and had to pay costs of £7,071. Helen Jones, an inspector for HSE, said that the company had already been told that a fixed platform would be a more suitable solution for working at height.

Along with risk assessments and procedures, the use of PPE and safety workwear can prevent injury and fatalities in the workplace.

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