Company Fined after Worker Died Following Fall from Shipping Container

A transport and haulage company was sentenced after a worker died after falling from the rear of a transport shipping container.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard that on 27 June 2018, J R Adams (Newcastle) Limited employee Keith Robson was involved in the task of unloading goods from the transport shipping container, which was on the back of a large goods road vehicle trailer at the company premises in Gateshead. The employee was inside the open topped container with the rear doors open preparing access for the overhead crane, and then the removal of the shipment of steel girders. While undertaking this work the employee fell approximately 1.5 metres from the rear of the container.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that although the company had various generic risk assessments and safe working method statements, it had not put in place the simple control measures to prevent or mitigate a fall from the rear of this container.  It also failed to carry out a suitable or sufficient risk assessment for this specific work activity.

J R Adams (Newcastle) Limited of Gateshead Longrigg, Swallwell, Gateshead pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,322.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Wilson said: “A worker died from injuries sustained in this incident. His death could have very easily been avoided had the company recognised the risk of a fall from the container when unloading the steel and put in place simple and easily available controls.”

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