Firms fined over worker’s plunge

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FINES totalling £47,000 have been handed out to a major Bellshill employer and one of its contractors after a worker was badly injured in a fall.

Paul Bolton (44) suffered pelvic injuries when he was knocked from the top of a lorry at Brake Brothers in Motherwell Food Park.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard he was working without a safety harness and there were no other measures in place to prevent a fall while working.

Brake Brothers - part of a leading European chilled food group with an annual turnover of £2 billion - was fined £27,000 and maintenance contractor Michael Ward Limited was fined £20,000.

The firms pleaded guilty to charges under health and safety laws.

The court heard Mr Bolton was employed by Michael Ward Limited which carried out repairs to vehicles owned by Brake Brothers.

The accident happened at the workshop/garage in Bellshill in July 2009.

Mr Bolton and a colleague were removing a fridge unit from the roof of a lorry cab for repair. It was to be lowered to the ground using a crane.

However, a problem with locking bolts resulted in the fridge unit becoming detached, swinging towards Mr Bolton and knocking from the roof of the lorry to the ground 10 feet below.

Mr Bolton was taken to Monklands Hospital where he spent four nights.

He sufferd two fractures to his pelvic ring and a cut to his finger which required stitches. He was off work for more than two months.

Michael Ward admitted it should have had measures in place to prevent such a fall. It now supplies safety harnesses for engineers working on cab roofs.

Brake Brothers admitted that it had a duty towards the employees of contractors working on its premises.

It has since bought a mobile gantry and work at height on its premises now requires a separate permit.