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Oil firm in court after employee’s fall

Carrs Billington Agriculture (Sales) Ltd, which trades as Wallace Oils, has been in court for safety breaches after one of its employees fell from the top of a tanker.

What happened?

David Strong, from Carlisle, had climbed on top of the tanker after his morning delivery run, to check the remaining fuel level with a dipstick.

He then lost his balance and – as the tanker didn’t have a guard rail – he fell over three metres onto the concrete floor below, breaking his arm in the process.

A court heard that the Cumbria-based oil firm had failed to properly evaluate the risks involved in checking the fuel in this way, and so failed to ensure satisfactory safety measures were in place.

What was the outcome?

The firm plead guilty to a breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and was fined £9,330 and ordered to pay £360 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Matthew Tinsley, said:

“A worker at Wallace Oils 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.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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