Business park prosecuted after a maintenance worker fell off a ladder in a disused machine shop.

Bridge Mills had asked the worker to remove heat exchange units from the roof space the former machine shop in Huddersfield Road in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.

A cleaner was holding the ladder while the maintenance operative worked at various heights of about four to five metres.

When the cleaner lost control of the ladder, the maintenance worker realised he was falling and jumped clear, rolling over to protect himself. He fractured his ankle in the fall.

Bridge Mills, which owns and manages the Bridge Mill site in Huddersfield Road, appeared at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court yesterday (7 January).

It was fined £7000 and ordered to pay £1355 costs after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The court was told that the HSE’s investigation found that Bridge Mills had no one with clear responsibility for health and safety.

The company had not planned or organised the work at height, so there was no safe system of work. It had not provided the worker with proper training or equipment for the job and the ladder was not tied at the top or effectively balanced.

“There were several safe methods open to Bridge Mills for the removal of the heat exchange units, including working from an integrated working platform,” said HSE inspector Jackie Ferguson.

“Instead, the health and safety of workers was treated in a vague and haphazard manner.”

Shires Law partner, Joanne du Plessis adds: ” It is crucial in these situations that the Work at Height Regulations 2005 are adhered to. These regulations impose health and safety requirements with respect to work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. These regulations contain the minimum safety and health requirements for the workplace.

Every employer is under a duty to ensure that work at height is properly planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner. Persons undertaking work at height must be competent to carry out the work. If they are being trained then they should be supervised by a competent person in accordance with Regulation 5.

Sadly, as we so often find, when the law is not followed, injury can and does result. Sometimes with tragic consequences.”