Litter Picking – what could go wrong?

Mansfield District Council have been fined £10,500 for breaching work at height regulations whilst clearing litter that had accumulated in a well in the yard which is now redundant.  The litter had amassed between the metal grill and wire mesh covering the well. Two men removed the metal grid and the third, thinking the wire mesh was strong enough to take his weight, stood on it to clear the litter. However, the mesh gave way and he fell six metres to the bottom of the well.  He was rescued by the emergency services and taken to hospital for treatment to a dislocated elbow and cuts to his head arms and legs and was unable to return to work for six months.

The prosecution was brought because of a breach to regulation 4(1) which states

Organisation and planning

4.—(1) Every employer shall ensure that work at height is—

(a)properly planned;

(b)appropriately supervised; and

(c)carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe,

It is important to remember that a person does not have be elevated to a height for the regulations to apply, if you are at ground level and working near a pit, trench or well, then a person is working at height and the regulations apply.

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