Egg packer fined after worker hurt in fall

A Shropshire egg packing firm has been hit with a £25,000 fine after a worker was badly injured in a fall.

Staveley’s Eggs, based at Market Drayton, admitted breaching health and safety regulations during a hearing before Shrewsbury magistrates on 3 May.

The court heard how in July 2011 floorboards had been taken up behind a door in a barn for repair. When a 43-year-old female egg packer opened the door and walked through she fell two metres, badly injuring both legs. The packer, who had been with the company for six years, has not been able to return to work despite medical treatment.

An investigation by the HSE showed that no proper safeguards had been put in place and no written risk assessments had been undertaken. The situation had only been discussed verbally with employees.

The company was also ordered to pay £2,600 in costs.

After the hearing senior HSE inspector Lyn Mizen commented: “This incident could have easily been prevented if a suitable risk assessment had been carried out. Fundamental and basic measures, such as nailing the door shut or posting warning signs, had not been taken.

“Bean bags or air bags underneath the hole would have provided appropriate and relatively inexpensive fall protection for all employees.

“This worker suffered serious injuries in this incident and has been unable to return to work. And after enduring a lengthy and painful recuperation process, she still suffers from restricted movement in her ankles, finding it difficult to walk very far.

“Clear guidance on working at height is available from HSE and it is regrettable that the company failed to follow this.”