HSE Bacup skip hire

Bacup firm fined for digger bucket ride

The owner of a skip hire firm in Bacup, Rossendale, has been fined £5,000 after he was filmed putting an employee's life in danger by lifting him in a digger bucket.

Christopher Jones was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive after a member of the public videoed the incident at Shadlock Skips on Newchurch Road in Bacup on 1 May 2013.

Burnley Magistrates' Court heard that Jones and an employee had been trying to remove a small piece of damaged plywood above the main shutter doors.

No measures were put in place to prevent the worker falling around four metres from the bucket to the ground below.

The court was told much safer methods of carrying out the work were available on the site. These included attaching a man-riding cage to the front of the vehicle or simply using a ladder.

Jones previously received a warning from HSE less than two months before the incident after the same employee was witnessed riding on top of a fully laden skip wagon as it reversed into the site.

Jones, of West View Road in Rossendale, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,039 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 on 16 May 2014.

David Myrtle, HSE inspector, said: "Falls from height are a major cause of workplace deaths in Great Britain. It's for this reason that HSE takes work at height seriously and expects employers, such as Mr Jones, to do the same.

"He knew that raising his employee in the bucket of the telehandler was wrong but thought that since the job would only take a minute it would be ok.

"That minute has cost Mr Jones dearly but had the employee fallen from the bucket then the cost to him and his family would have been immeasurable. It's never ok to put someone's life in danger – no matter how long it lasts."

In response, Jones said: "I've been trading for 25 years without an accident and I think the HSE ruling was extreme and harsh."

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