News Item: Plant Hire Company in Court over Work at Height and Welfare Issues

A plant hire company has been fined for leaving workers at risk of a fall from height and failing to provide minimum welfare facilities.

Blackpool Magistrates' Court heard how, Ruttle Plant (Birmingham) Ltd was in the process of building a new aggregate recycling facility at their site at Common Bank Lane, Chorley. Part of the work included the provision of cladding to the roof, which was carried out using a cherry picker. However, as some areas of the roof were difficult to reach, employees had to step onto the roof where no edge protection had been provided, putting them at risk of a 30ft fall. In addition, workers had been on site for some considerable time without the minimum required welfare facilities being available. This included facilities for hand washing during the height of the Covid pandemic.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the workers had been left unsupervised by site management, there had been no method statement to follow when they climbed onto the roof and there were no preventative measures in place to prevent the risk of a fall from height. Workers were also expected to drive to the company's head office along an unadopted roadway more than five minutes' drive away to use the toilet, despite there being ample room on the site for facilities.

Ruttle Plant Hire (Birmingham) Ltd of Lancaster House, Ackhurst Road, Chorley, Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 13(4)(c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, and Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £66,667 and ordered to pay costs of £1,847.