The dangers of non-compliance in warehousing

April 29, 2014

Health and Safety in the Warehouse

A well known logistics provider has been issued a £250,000 fine following the fatal fall of a worker through a stockroom roof just a short time after the Court of Appeal verified that fines would be based upon the severity of the breach of Health and Safety and the financial scenarios of each offender.

HSE regulations and January update

The HSE upgraded its guidance on working at height in January and this was done to supply targeted and clear guidance to particular sectors on individual or business level obligations as well as aiming to combat misconceptions of the guidance. Given the story below, it is worth making the effort to see to it that your company doesn’t get caught out.

Aramex (UK) Ltd employed Gary Edwards, who works as roofing professional, and Michael Sweet, in order to deal with a leak and to ensure the guttering of one of their properties was cleaned in December 2011. Whilst cleaning the guttering, Mr. Sweet stood on a fragile panel in the roof, which gave way and he tragically fell to the concrete floor below. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered after an investigation that no precaution had been put in place in the area and prosecuted Mr. Edwards as well as Aramex. The HSE ruled that Aramex had ignored their own H&S guidelines to monitor the work or examine exactly how it would be completed, despite understanding of the fragility of the roof. Mr. Edwards also admitted that the only safety equipment provided to his worker was a pair of safety gloves.  There were many missed opportunities to provide a safer working environment, which may have reduced the risk lower, such as providing harnesses, scaffolding or placing boards over the vulnerable area.

 Both Mr. Edwards and Aramex pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Aramex received a fine of a quarter of a million pounds, whilst Mr. Edwards was issued with a 4 month prison sentence, which was suspended for a 12 months.

Going forward, it appears that big companies (initially defined as those with a turnover in excess or £ 1 billion) can expect far higher levels of financial punishment if convicted of these sorts of offences. There will now be much more stringent examination of accounts prior to and at any sentencing hearing. Smaller sized companies, although not particularly scrutinized in detail by the Court of Appeal, are likewise most likely to see fines enhanced in the future.

Contact Fairway Fulfilment & Logistics for a professional warehousing and fulfilment service you can trust.  

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