The Workers Union has urged firms to tackle workplace injuries by investing in health and safety.
A spokesperson for the organisation said: ‘We are dealing with a disturbing number of cases of unsafe working practices. In one instance, a member fell off the back of a flat bed lorry after inadequate provision of non-slip mats. In another workplace injury, a worker was severely injured falling from unsecured scaffolding. While there’s always a possibility that something unforeseen and minor could occur, like stepping on nail, these workplace incidents – and a great many others – could have been prevented by better enforcement of existing healthy and safety legislation. It is now up to company chiefs to take a good long look at themselves and deliver safer working environment for their employees.’
The Workers Union’s statement came after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that a worker for the Clarendon Food Company Limited, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, Wales, fell approximately 15 feet while using an unsecured ladder leading to injuries. The injured worker had been fitting a new security camera on the outside of the company’s buildings.
A subsequent investigation by the HSE uncovered a series of failings, including a complete lack of a working at height plan and the absence of appropriate training for the injured worker or their colleagues.
The Clarendon Food Company pleaded guilty to a breach of section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974. They received a £40,000 fine plus costs of £5, 344.30.
Matthew Pendle, an inspector for HSE, said: ‘Those in control of work at height have a responsibility to properly plan and supervise the work to ensure suitable equipment is selected. They also should provide the necessary information, instruction and training to workers to avoid injuries in the workplace.
‘This unnecessary work injury could have been avoided if it had of been risk assessed, planned and suitable equipment selected, which employees were trained to use safely.’
The Workers Union Says…
It is long past time that bosses stopped spending company cash on new widgets for their intranets, attempting to impress workers with gimmicky offers of free coffee on Fridays or lavishing £20 vouchers on those members of staff lucky enough to catch the eye of management. What workers want over and above a fair reward for their labours, is a safe environment in which to work. This can only be achieved with adequate training and the right tools for the job.
These are the basics of any successful working relationship and any company that fails to invest in them should not be surprised if they are called out on it. With high fines for transgressors and a world in which news travels fast, execs must decide whether it’s really worth the egg on their collective faces before they skimp on health and safety spending.