An experienced contractor died after falling seven metres while carrying out maintenance work at a waste site in Wiltshire, a court has been told.
On 18 November 2020, the man was working as part of a team on a mechanical screening and separating plant under the control and direction of Hills Waste Solutions Limited.
Investigators told Aldershot Magistrates’ Court that the company failed to ensure that work at height was properly assessed and planned. The company failed to consider and identify how the necessary work at height could be carried out safely to ensure that the risk of falls was controlled.
'Those in control of work have a duty to assess the risks and devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to those undertaking the work,' said HSE inspector Matt Tyler. 'This incident could have been prevented had the work been adequately planned.'
'The shortcomings in our procedures on that day fell below the standards we expect'
Earlier this month (17 August) Hills Waste Solutions, part of a privately owned family company established in 1900, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations. The company was fined £190,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,816.
Hills said it has 'always acknowledged responsibility' for its part in the tragic accident, which it said was reflected in the company entering an early guilty plea 'at the first opportunity'.
In a statement, the firm said a full investigation took place following the incident and 'steps were taken to strengthen existing procedures'.
'The shortcomings in our procedures on that day fell below the standards we expect,' Hills said.
'Safety has and always will be the first priority for all our operational activities and is embodied in the Hills group culture.
'The company has been devastated by this tragic accident and appreciate the judge’s comments acknowledging our ‘otherwise impeccable health and safety record’.'