Fined for van roof fall
- Anglian Windows Ltd had failed to provide sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision to employees who were required to load and unload equipment from van roofs.
A £10,000 fine for a glazing firm after a worker’s van roof fall resulting in severe head injuries is a reminder to small businesses and trades that there is more to running a van than the complexities of simply driving it.
After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive and the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service, it was found that Anglian Windows Ltd had failed to provide sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision to employees who were required to load and unload equipment from van roofs.
Anglian Windows, of Anson Road, Norwich, pleaded guilty at Livingston Sheriff Court, and was fined £10,000 for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Ritchie McCrae said: “Loading and unloading of materials and equipment from van roofs should be properly planned and appropriate control measures identified and employed.
“On this occasion, Anglian Windows failed to control the risk of falls from van roofs as the company was entirely reliant on an instruction which was not properly communicated and was not monitored to check compliance. As a result of this, an incident occurred which was entirely preventable and an employee sustained serious and life-changing injuries.”
It was on 19 June 2012, Alan Campbell, who worked for Anglian Windows Ltd, fell when loading an easi-dec system on to the roof of the van after working at a domestic property in Scotland.
Mr Campbell, 47, suffered two bleeds to the brain and was kept in an induced coma for over three weeks. Compression to his forehead required a metal plate to be inserted to partly reshape his face. He now suffers epilepsy and is unable to drive.
FTA advice on loading:
- Where possible cargo should be restrained within the vehicle:
- That effectively eliminates the risk cargo could pose to other road users
- Improves vehicle stability by keeping the centre of gravity of the vehicle as low as possible reducing the risk of an accident
- Reduces the vehicle’s drag and improves fuel efficiency
- Improves overall security of the cargo reducing the risk of theft.
Both the Health and Safety Executive and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) have issued advice on carrying roof loads.
The FTA says Loading and unloading cargo on the roof of vehicles can introduce its own risks in terms of manual handling injuries (e.g. back injuries, items being dropped onto the head or foot). It also has the potential to encourage vehicle operators to access the roof of vehicles to ensure that roof cargo is restrained correctly or to assist in lifting on to or lowering cargo from the vehicle’s roof.
This introduces a potential working at height risk with the potential for individuals to fall off the vehicle and sustain serious or fatal injuries.
Where there is a need to restrain cargo on the roof of a vehicle a solution to resolve the manual handling and working at height risk would be to fit a sliding racking system that enables operators to access and load roof mounted cargo from the ground.