Brick and roof tile manufacturer Wienerberger has been fined following a worker’s three-metre fall from the roof of an industrial oven.
David Snow worked as a kiln operator at the company’s plant in Bishop Auckland. After the Christmas shutdown, the exit door on a kiln on the premises began to jam half-open. The 59-year-old was required to climb onto the roof of the oven, where he attempted to force the door open by hand.
He lost his balance and fell from the roof onto the factory floor below, suffering a fractured skull and multiple breaks to his left leg. Since the accident he has required ongoing reconstructive surgery and can no longer walk without crutches.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that Wienerberger had been aware of the faulty door at the time of the fall, but failed to fix the jam until afterwards. It did not provide a safe system of work for employees required to mount the kiln roof and had not put any safety measures in place to protect them from falling.
Wienerberger was was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and fined £13,500, with costs of £4,190.