Leeds firm fined £140,000 after worker impaled on steps while cleaning ovens

A Leeds firm has been handed a £140,000 fine after breaching safety regulations over a worker who was impaled on a set of steps.

By Alex Evans
Thursday, 25th February 2021, 4:16 pm
Updated Friday, 26th February 2021, 2:05 pm
Country Style Foods has been fined

Country Style Foods Ltd were sentenced today for safety breaches after a worker was impaled upon a set of ‘airline’ style steps.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that on 18 September 2017, the employee was working at height on a set of steps to reach and clean the top oven in a stack of horizontal ovens.

He slipped whilst on the working platform of these steps and became impaled upon a section of the handrail. He suffered a torn artery and nerve damage resulting in hospitalisation for several days.

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An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the steps had been adapted for a different task, which created an additional risk when used for this work. Whilst a scissor lift was present on the site, the employee involved was not trained in its use, the HSE said.

Country Style Foods Ltd, of Pontefract Lane, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The company has been fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £11,589 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Darian Dundas said: “The company failed to appropriately plan and supervise work at height leading to it being undertaken using a set of steps, which were inappropriate for the task.

“This incident was easily preventable, and the risk should have been more clearly identified and appropriately addressed. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies that fail to implement safe systems of work.”