Volvo pays £900,000 over worker’s stepladder fall

Volvo pays £900,000 over worker's stepladder fall

Thursday 8th December 2016

Volvo's truck and bus division has been fined £900,000 after a worker was seriously injured after falling from a worn step ladder that was not the company's property.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that the worker was servicing a large delivery truck and repairing the driver's access rope for the cab on 17 September 2015. He fell from the step ladder, hit his head and lost consciousness.

He developed swelling on his brain and was placed in a medically induced coma for two weeks. He still suffers from ongoing complications and has been unable to return to work.

The court heard that the firm had not trained its staff to select, inspect and use access equipment for work at height.

An HSE investigation also found the step ladder was damaged and its anti-slip feet were worn. It had not been maintained or checked to ensure that it was suitable for use.

Volvo Group UK, of Wedgnock Lane in Warwick, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. On top of the fine, it must pay costs of £5820.

HSE inspector Nick Wright said: "This worker suffered life changing injuries that could have been prevented by simple health and safety precautions. For two weeks his family was told to prepare for the worst as he was placed in an induced coma to help manage the swelling on his brain.

"This case is not about banning ladders - on many occasions they are the right equipment to use when working at height - it is about companies ensuring they properly maintain their work at height equipment and train their workers on how to inspect them and select the correct tools for the job. As this case shows, even a fall from a relatively small height can have devastating consequences."

According to Volvo Group UK's annual financial statement, the firm had a turnover of £217m in 2015 and £193m in 2014. It mainly sells truck and bus products, parts, services and equipment.

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