Dundee Cold Stores fined £135,000 for workplace fall

Kingsway West, Dundee, Scotland, UK:  Dundee Cold Stores has been fined £135,000 after a contractor broke his back in a fall in October 2008.

Christopher Carson plunged through a roof light while installing a lighting system.  He hit machinery before landing on the floor 21 feet below.  Carson needed surgery to reattach three tendons to his shoulder and went through intensive physiotherapy but still suffers chronic back and shoulder pain.

Electroguard Security Systems had subcontracted the work to his employers – Robert AS Crockett and Partners – as part of a larger project.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation revealed Dundee Cold Stores had not asked contractors for a written risk assessment.  Neither company supplied a written method statement of how the work would be done safely.

Electroguard had carried out a risk assessment for working at height, but this was not specific to the job at Dundee Cold Stores and it was not shared with Crockett and Partners, who had been subcontracted by Electroguard to do the same type of work at height.

The court was told that no safe system of work was implemented to ensure any risks identified were eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level.  Carson had not been given any training or information that could have prevented the accident, while no safety inductions were carried out with contractors.

A spokesman for Dundee Cold Stores said the company accepted responsibility for the errors it made.

“The accident happened shortly after the current owners and management took over the factory,” the spokesman added.  “Since the accident there has been significant changes to the health and safety regime in place at the factory.”

Robert AS Crockett and Partners was fined £66,000 after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety law.  Electroguard was fined £135,000.