Fall from tanker leaves worker with broken arm

A worker has been injured in the workplace following a fall from the top of an oil tanker. 

A magistrates court hear how the man had climbed on to the top of the tanker to use a dipstick to check his fuel level.  The 39 year old then slipped and , because the tanker had no guard rail, fell from a height of over 3 metres onto the concrete floor.  He sustained a broken arm and the HSE felt it could have been a lot worse;

An HSE Inspector said:

“A worker ….. could easily have suffered fatal injuries because the company failed to make sure its employees were safe.

“The risk of falling from the top of tankers is well-known in the industry. Despite this, the company’s failure to assess the risks resulted in workers regularly climbing onto the top of vehicles to check fuel levels before refilling.

“There were several other ways this work could have been carried out safely – the simplest being emptying the tank first so workers always started with an empty tank. If this working practice had been captured in the company’s procedures and drivers had been adequately instructed and trained at the time of the incident then the employee’s injuries could have been avoided.”

The oil distribution company was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive following the accident in November 2012 and found that, although there was equipment in place to allow drivers to empty any remaining fuel from the tanker before refilling it, it had become common practice for drivers to climb on top of their tankers to check the fuel levels.

The court heard how the company failed to properly risk assess their employees method of checking the fuel and failed to provide instructions on how the carry out the work safely.  The injured worker had only received training on how to use dipsticks by another driver at the depot and had not been advised to use the correct method.

The Carlisle based company was fined £9,330 and ordered to pay £360 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

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