Bakery giant Warburtons fined £2m as worker suffers life changing injuries in fall

Bolton bakery giant Warburtons has been fined £2 million after worker Andrew Sears suffered life-changing injuries in a fall at the company’s Wednesbury site.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that Mr.Sears, who had worked at the site since 2007, was cleaning mixing equipment in November 2013, and lost his footing, causing him to fall nearly two metres.  He was hospitalised with a compression fracture of the spine, and, despite working to work in December 2014, he was unable to continue in his old role and was dismissed in December 2015 after another long period of sick leave.

Warburtons Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over the incident and pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005.

A health and safety investigation found that Warburtons routinely expected workers to access the top of the mixers for cleaning, often leaving the workers unbalanced.  The workers were not adequately supervised and there had been no training on how the mixer needed to be cleaned at height. The company failed to control the risk of falls from height when carrying out this routine cleaning activity.

Warburtons Limited, Hereford Street, Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005 and was fined £ 2million and ordered to pay costs of £19,609.28.

HSE inspector Mahesh Mahey added:

“This case highlights how important it is for companies to fully assess the risks from work activities at height and to take appropriate action to prevent injury in the workplace.

“This should have been prevented, falls from height is one of the biggest killers in the workplace and even falls from fairly low levels can be extremely dangerous.

“Mr Sears life has been changed forever but he his injuries could have been more severe.”
A Warburtons spokesman said:

“We take the health and safety of all our people very seriously and are deeply saddened that on this occasion our procedures failed to protect Andrew.

“We have taken the necessary steps to prevent this happening again and will continue to review all health and safety procedures across our business.
“We have a very strong health and safety record across all of our manufacturing and distribution sites and we invest heavily in ensuring an accident free workplace for our employees, often working together with the HSE.”

Author: Editorial Team

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