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Wed May 12 2021

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MEWP operator’s death leads to £700k fine

22 Mar 17 Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd has been fined £700,000 after a self-employed contractor was knocked from a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP).

On 21st March 2015 the contractor was working at a height of nearly five metres to install fire detection equipment at the site of the former Indesit factory in Yate, near Bristol.

At the same time Whirlpool UK maintenance workers started an overhead conveyor, unaware that the contractor was working nearby. The movement caused the MEWP to tip over and the 66-year-old man fell to the factory floor. He later died from his injuries.

A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found there was no effective control or supervision in place to prevent the conflicting work tasks from being undertaken at the same time.

Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to breaching section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £700,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,466.

HSE inspector Matt Tyler said after the hearing: “This is a tragic case where the incident could have been prevented if the company had planned and controlled the work properly.”

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