Waddington and Ledger fined after driver hurt unloading paper reel

Waddington and Ledger has been fined 14,000 and ordered to pay costs of 3,205 after pleading guilty at Halifax Magistrates' Court to a breach of the Health and Safety Act.

A driver of the West Yorkshire-based direct mail and point-of-sale specialist suffered serious injuries in June last year when he was struck by a 1.5 tonne paper reel he was unloading.

In court on Friday 29 May, the company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the 1974 Health and Safety Act.

The prosecution prompted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to warn the print industry of the dangers of loading and unloading reels of paper.  

HSE inspector Jackie Ferguson said: "This was a serious and potentially life-threatening incident and the driver has not fully recovered from his injuries.

"Such dangerous occurrences can be avoided. The risks associated with the loading and unloading of vehicles serving the print industry are well-known."

Following the incident, an Improvement Notice was served that required a safe system of work for unloading paper reels from delivery vehicles at Waddington and Ledger's Elland site.

The company, which was established in 1884, has since made changes to its procedures and redeveloped its yard area. Additionally, paper reels are no longer handled manually but unloaded mechanically from the sides of trailers with a clamp truck. This was acknowledged by the court and led to a reduced fine.

Managing director Philip Moorland said: "We take the safety of all our employees and contractors very seriously. This is our first serious accident in more than a century of trading."

Bud Hudspith, Unite's health and safety advisor, questioned the time taken for the company to release the information.  

He said: "This seems to be a classic example where the basic information and warnings could have been released and discussed some time ago without prejudicing any legal action, which might have helped to prevent other accidents."