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Workers spotted climbing skip stacks

  • 30 July 2013
  • By Roger Brown

London-based Simpson Eco Skips has been fined £30,000 for dangerous working practices surrounding the storage of skips at its yard.

In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told about an inspection carried out by the organisation’s inspectors at the skip haulier’s depot in Neasden in July 2011.

On arrival at the Western Road site, they saw a worker descending a stack of skips that was about 10m high with nothing to prevent or mitigate a fall. He had climbed up – unseen – to attach a crane hook to a shackle.
A second worker then clambered up and down a smaller stack just a few metres away, also seemingly unaware of, or disregarding, the consequences had he slipped.

The inspectors believed the practice was dangerous, indicative of poor management and that there was a lack of competence and training. Simpson Eco Skips also failed to produce a valid certificate for the crane that was in use at the time to confirm it had been properly examined and was in good working order.

Inspectors served five improvement notices requiring changes to be made, all of which were subsequently complied with. Simpson Eco Skips was ordered to pay £1,260 costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. Following the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Fry said: “The failings we uncovered were for technical breaches, but workers could have been seriously hurt or possibly killed as a consequence of the dangerous practices and lack of safety awareness and provisions.”


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