Dairy giant Müller has been fined £400,000 after a worker was seriously injured when he fell 4.5m through an unmarked fragile roof panel.
Manchester Crown Court was told that on 8 July 2015 three men were carrying out a routine task, changing refrigeration gas inside the chilled storage units. They were working in the roof void of the chilled store building above the units.
The victim stood at the edge of the roof on a fragile fire board panel. The board gave way and he fell into the void between the chilled unit and the building shell. He sustained injuries to his head.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no adequate risk assessment and the company had not informed workers about the presence of fragile roof panels in the void prior to the work being undertaken. The panels were not clearly visible, had no warning markings and there were no barriers to prevent access to fragile areas.
Müller UK and Ireland Group, which employs around 12,000 people and whose brands include Müller Corner, Müllerlight and Müller Rice, pleaded guilty to breaching s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was ordered to pay costs of £9,336.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Jane Carroll said: 'This case highlights how important it is that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is undertaken for all work at height and work within roof voids, to identify the potential for fragile panels to be present.'