A local recycling firm based in Hazelhead has been ordered to pay just short of £250,000 when their employee was killed after falling from height.


Paul Littlewood, an employee of R Plevin and Sons recycling firm, tragically died when he fell 4 metres from his wagon, which he was removing a sheet from by hand. The Health and Safety Executive brought a criminal prosecution on the basis that the company breached Health and Safety at Work regulations.


Sheffield Crown Court heard how Mr Littlewood’s death could have been “easily prevented” and that there was only a one-wire rope in place to prevent him from falling. The rope was usually attached to a vertical pole via a carabiner, but the wire was left loose when Mr Littlewood died in June 2014.


Falls from height are one of the main causes of fatalities and serious injuries and so employers need to be aware of their responsibilities when planning any work at height. These include making sure that the work is properly planned, supervised and that appropriate equipment is used.


In this case, the court found that working from a 4 metre wagon clearly constituted working from height and that the Defendant failed to provide the correct equipment or properly plan the task of putting up and removing sheets from the wagon.


A HSE spokesman also said that there were easy and reasonable alternatives that the company could have implemented to prevent Mr Littlewood from carrying out this task manually, such as using automatic sheeting.


Cases such as this demonstrate the devastating impact that the failure to comply with Health and Safety Regulations can have on an employee and their family. Hopefully this case will lead to employers taking appropriate action to ensure that something like this does not happen again.


If you have been injured or have unfortunately lost a loved one following an injury then call 01924 457 171 to speak to one of our specialist personal injury lawyers and to see if you may be entitled to compensation.

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