Fine for Muller UK over health and safety failings

Health and safety breaches led to worker’s roof fall and a £400k fine for the company

The dairy manufacturing company Muller UK and Ireland Group LLP, have been fined £400,000 at Manchester Crown Court over health and safety failings, after a worker fell 15ft through a fragile roof panel.

An investigation into the fall was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The worker was left with serious injuries to his head and body as a result.

The incident occurred on July 8 last year, as the worker, along with two of his colleagues, worked on a routine job changing the refrigeration gas on some chilled storage units at the company’s premises on Lake Road, at Trafford Park.

The men were working in the void of the roof in the chilled store building over the top of the chilled units. One worker stepped onto a fragile panel on the edge of the roof space and fell through the void inbetween the chilled unit and the shell of the building. The worker was left with serious injuries as a result of the incident.

The HSE investigation found that no information had been given to the workers about the fragile panels in the roof, even though they had worked in that area on numerous occasions. The company never carried out a proper risk assessment before the workers entered the area and no adequate health and safety signs, or barriers were placed around the fragile panels.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £400,000 and made to pay costs of £9,336.90.

Jane Carroll, a HSE Inspector said afterwards: “This case highlights how important it is that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is undertaken for all work at height and work within roof voids, to identify the potential for fragile panels to be present.”

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