Baker’s £2m Fine After Worker’s Fall

One of Britain’s best-known bakers has been handed a £2m fine after a member of staff fractured his spine when he fell more than six feet.

Andrew Sears was carrying out his usual task of cleaning a mixing machine at Warburtons’ site in Wednesbury in the West Midlands when the accident happened in November 2013.

However, he lost his footing and slipped, suffering a compression fracture in the process.

Mr Sears, who had been employed by Warburtons for six years, had to stay in hospital for treatment and could not go back to work until just over a year after the incident. Even then he could not perform his previous duties and after taking further sickness leave he lost his job at the end of 2015.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive discovered that staff were regularly asked to clean mixers at height using the method that had led to Mr Sears’ accident. They had not been trained in how to carry out the task safely and were not properly supervised.

Warburtons Limited, of Hereford Street, Bolton, Greater Manchester, admitted offences under the Work at Height Regulation. As well as the £2m fine, the firm was also ordered to pay a total of £19.609.28 in costs.

“This case highlights how important it is for companies to fully assess the risks from work activities at height and to take appropriate action to prevent injury in the workplace,” said HSE inspector Mahesh Mahey.

“This should have been prevented. Falls from height are one of the biggest killers in the workplace and even falls from fairly low levels can be extremely dangerous. Mr Sears’ life has been changed forever but his injuries could have been more severe.”

View All