Onion firm fined after serious ladder injury

A Spalding onion packing firm has been fined after a worker broke his shoulder falling from a ladder.

Moulton Bulb Company Ltd employee Richard Webster was covering onion boxes with plastic sheeting when he fell around three metres at the firm’s Glebe Farm site at Roman Bank, Spalding, on 10 September 2009.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Mr Webster of Whaplode, near Spalding, fell from a ladder as he was wrapping a five and a half metre stack of boxes in polythene.

Mr Webster broke his shoulder which kept him off work for a month.

Moulton Bulb Company Ltd of Long Lane, Moulton, near Spalding, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,188.

Prosecuting, HSE Inspector Jo Anderson said:

“Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and it’s crucial employers make sure work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and sufficient measures are put in place to protect staff from these risks.

“As a result of this the company has changed its procedures to eliminate the need to work at height by applying polythene sheeting at floor level and then lifting the boxes up.

“I’m satisfied the company has learned from this incident and would encourage employers in a similar line of business to consider doing the same, if they don’t already.”

Last year more than 4,000 employees suffered major injuries after falling from height at work.