Bradford Council fined over cherry picker plunge

Overturned cherry picker
Image caption The cherry picker toppled over after slipping off a ground mat

A council has admitted health and safety breaches that led to an employee falling 35 ft (11m) from the cradle of a cherry picker.

Adam Smith, 23, was pruning dead branches in Bierley Hall Woods, Bradford, when the vehicle slipped off a ground mat and toppled over.

He suffered multiple fractures and internal injuries on 27 July last year.

Bradford Council was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £9,623 in costs at the city's magistrates' court on Tuesday.

It admitted failing to ensure the safety of one of its employees while working at height.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it identified a "series of failings" by the local authority, including the use of the wrong type of ground mat and a failure to "properly plan and organise the safety aspects of the tree pruning work".

Staff working in off-road locations had also not been trained to work on soft or uneven ground, the HSE said.

Inspector David Welsh said: "We could easily have been dealing with a fatal injury considering the distance of this worker's fall.

"Work at height remains one of the most significant causes of death and major injuries among workers."

A council spokesperson said: "We have fully complied with the three improvement notices issued by the Health and Safety Executive since the incident last year.

"We very much regret the injury caused to one of our members of staff. Mr Smith has now returned to work."

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