Health & Safety

The strong winds across the UK over the past year or so have caused significant problems, and not just for our own Health and Safety team… We are now starting to see the results coming through the courts.

Vion foods UK Ltd, a food manufacturing company, was fined £12,000 last week after an employee was blown from the roof of a shipping container. He was standing on the top of the container lifting corrugated metal sheets from a forklift truck, when a gust of wind blew him to the ground. He fell around two and half metres, sustaining injuries to the muscles in his leg and shoulder and breaking his ribs. The company pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of HSWA.

The main criticism by the HSE in this case was the failure was to use a safe working platform, as the employee did not need to be standing on the container to carry out the work he was doing. An elevated platform could have been used instead. However, the case does highlight the need to take strong winds into account when planning work activity.

Given the further recent windy weather, could there be more wind related prosecutions to come?

Andy Forsyth

Managing Associate at Brodies LLP
Andrew is a Health & Safety lawyer with a particular interest in all things marine. He acts for clients in defending claims arising from accidents at sea, in the oil sector, and on ferries and fishing vessels.
Andy Forsyth