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An ex-team leader who fell from a ladder at work at a laundry company may have solid grounds to claim compensation against two companies for breaches in Health & Safety Regulations.
The former worker, a woman who wishes to remain anonymous, was employed by AAA Linen Services Park Royal headquarters in North West London when the accident happened. On December 20th 2010 the manager tried to use a ladder to try and clear a machine blockage in an industrial-sized laundry machine.
The unsecured ladder slipped and sent the 41-year-old woman falling to the ground.
After being rushed to hospital, doctors told the woman she had shattered her left ankle and later had 13 screws inserted in her foot in an attempt to repair the extensive damage. She has been unable to work since the accident - costing her considerable income.
A subsequent Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Laundryquip LLP had provided the reconditioned washing machine to AAA Linen Services without the set of access stairs the latter had ordered.
The laundry company was also found by inspectors to have failed to ensure their employees' safety while working at heights - having previously told workers to use a chair to access blocked pipes in large machines, although one was not used in this case.
Laundryquip LLP was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £16,500 in costs after being found guilty of a breach of Section 6(3) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
AAA Linen Services Ltd entered a guilty plea in August last year to a breach of Section 2(1) of the same act and the firm was also told to pay £9,500, £4,500 of which was to cover prosecution costs.
HSE inspector Nick Fry said: "AAA Linen failed to ensure [its] employees' safety when they needed to work at height to clear blockages on this large laundry machine.
"A chair was clearly the wrong choice of equipment and exposed workers to unnecessary risk. [This] action led to an avoidable incident in which a woman was caused a great deal of pain and suffering."
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