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Whirlpool fined £700k for fatal MEWP conveyor strike

US-owned “white goods” manufacturer Whirlpool Appliances has been fined £700,000 after a contractor fell from a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) and was fatally injured.

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In March 2015, the 66-year-old contractor was installing fire detection equipment at Whirlpool’s factory at Yate, near Bristol (formerly owned by Indesit), where it manufactures tumble dryers. He was working at a height of 5 m when Whirlpool maintenance staff, unaware of his presence, started an overhead conveyor. The movement destabilised the MEWP, toppling it and dropping the contractor to the factory floor, fatally injuring him.

The Health and Safety Executive found there was no supervision or controls to prevent the conflicting tasks being carried out.

At Bristol Crown Court Whirlpool UK Appliances admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £700,000 plus court costs of £11,466.

 

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Louis Wustemann is former editor, IOSH Magazine. He was previously editor of Health and Safety at Work magazine and Environment in Business. He has written, edited and consulted on health and safety, environmental and employment matters for more than 25 years.

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