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Fridge firm fined £27k after gantry fall

UK: A refrigeration company has been fined £27,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 costs after a worker sustained significant injuries when he fell from an incomplete gantry.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), GEA Refrigeration UK Ltd was replacing a cooler unit located on a gantry 10m above the warehouse floor at an Iceland depot in Swindon in February 2017.

This required a section of the gantry floor to be removed. A GEA employee fell 2.5m through the gap created by this removal and on to a cherry picker, suffering fractured ribs and internal injuries.

An investigation by the HSE found the company had failed to properly plan, co-ordinate and supervise the work, including the removal of the gantry floor to ensure the work was carried out in a safe manner to control the risks of falls.

GEA Refrigeration UK pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2015, and was fined £27,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £170 at Bristol Crown Court today.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Leo Diez said: “This incident could have been avoided by identifying and implementing effective control measures and safe working practices.

“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related injury and fatalities and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”

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