A laundry firm based in Northamptonshire has been prosecuted and fined for health and safety breaches along with a North West London linen hire service, after an employee fell from a ladder and shattered her ankle.
The employee was attempting clear a blockage in an industrial washing machine at AAA Linen Services’ Park Royal headquarters when the ladder slipped, sending the female worker plummeting to the floor. She shattered her left ankle and required 13 screws in her foot to treat the injury, leaving her unable to work.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident, which took place just before Christmas in 2010. The organisation made the decision to prosecute the injured worker’s employer, AAA Linen, as well as the company which supplied the machine, Laundryquip LLP.
It was found that the washing machine supplier had installed it without suitable access steps, and that the linen company had been giving workers a standard office chair to use when they needed to get to the machine. This was dangerous, as was allowing a worker to use an unsecured ladder without the proper health and safety training to access the machine, which resulted in her being injured.
After being found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, both companies were fined £5,000 apiece, as well as being ordered to pay thousands of pounds in legal costs.