Morecambe Pair fined for ‘reckless’ job

How many pallets does it take to make a health and safety breach?
How many pallets does it take to make a health and safety breach?
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Two workers who piled 15 pallets on a forklift truck to reach a street light have been fined for a health and safety breach.

Industrial estate managers Jonathan Shaw and Stephen Fawcett were caught on camera by a shocked passer-by as they made the wooden tower to fix the nine-metre tall lamp on on Vickers Industrial Estate in Morecambe.

Fawcett, 69, of Newby Court in Newby, was seen standing in a metal cage on top of the pallets without a safety harness.

Shaw, 44, of Bailrigg Lane in Lancaster, was at the base of the forklift truck looking up and was in danger if the cage had fallen.

Lancaster magistrates also heard there were no safety measures to stop passers-by coming close to the machinery.

Prosecuting, Lancaster Council said that the arrangement was at best “precarious” and at worst “reckless”, being potentially dangerous to anyone using it or anyone near it.

As Fawcett had previously been given health and safety advice and been warned about the dangers of working from height, the council decided to prosecute both men under sections 3(2) and 33(1)(a) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

At the hearing, both men pleaded guilty to the offences. They were each fined £8,000 fine with a victim surcharge of £120, together with costs of £1,681.50.

Coun Karen Leytham, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health, said: “Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and it is crucial that work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and that sufficient measures are put in place to protect both staff and the public.

“The council’s investigation revealed serious and wilful failures to adequately protect persons from serious risk of injury and potential loss of life.”