Horticultural Firm Fined for Safety Failings


Horticultural company, William Sinclair Horticulture Limited, has been fined for two separate incidents that occurred at their sites in Lincoln and Ellesmere Port.

The Ellesmere Port incident resulted in one of the firm’s workers sustaining serious injuries after he fell from a ladder that was not secured properly.

Darren Taylor, aged 40, was working on a deep clean of conveyor belts on January 8, 2015, and used a ladder to remove guards for access but on his ascent the ladder moved and caused him to fall to the ground from a height of 1.75 metres.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company did not have a safe system of work or risk assessment in place for the work to be carried out, nor for the proper use of ladders.

On the day of the incident, none of the other workers who were involved in cleaning the conveyor belts had received adequate training on how to use ladders safely.

In February 2014, Bolton Magistrates’ Court heard that William Sinclair Horticulture Limited had previously received two formal warnings from the HSE that were was an issue on the site about work being carried out from an unsafe height, though the firm did not take the action that was required.

The court was also told that William Sinclair Horticulture Limited did not listen to the HSE Inspector’s advice by not giving the necessary guarding on machinery at their site in Lincoln.

After a proactive visit in January last year by the Inspector, the firm was served with an Improvement Notice to improve the guarding of the conveyors that fed products into the machinery.

A further visit in March last year found that another Improvement Notice has been served relating to guarding on the sand line, while a third visit in June last year revealed that the company still had major issues with guarding of machinery, despite formal enforcement action taken previously.


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BDC 305 Jun 2023