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Cargo company fined after fall

A cargo handling company has been fined £60,000 today for health and safety failings that left a worker with serious head injuries.

At Inverness Sheriff Court, Whyte Crane Hire Limited pled guilty to a single charge under the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The court heard that on 21 August 2015 Wilson Reid was working in the lower hold of a cargo vessel docked at Inverness Harbour unloading turbine components.

While attempting to attach lifting gear to a unit holding turbine fins, Mr Reid lost his balance and slipped and fell a distance of between 12-15 feet suffering significant injuries.

These included a fractured skull, a head wound which required 19 stiches, fracture to both eye sockets, a dislocated jaw, damage to his teeth, bruising to his arms and legs, a compression injury to his neck and shoulders and multiple fractures to his left wrist.

The court was told that the firm had failed in its responsibilities to ensure that the work at height being undertaken that day by its employees was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner which was, so far as reasonably practicable, safe.

Alistair Duncan, Head of Health and Safety Division said:

"This was an accident that resulted in serious injuries that could have been avoided if the appropriate planning and protective measures had been in place at the time.

“This incident could well have proved fatal and it has significantly changed Mr. Reid’s life. Whyte’s failure also placed three other employees involved in the task at risk to the same serious injury.

"Falls from height are one of the greatest single causes of death and serious injury to workers within the construction industry.

“Hopefully this prosecution and the sentence will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings."