Last updated: 30.09.11

E-learning could 'improve health and safety practices'

The importance of online learning has been emphasised after a Kent-based firm faced a substantial fine due to a serious breach of health and safety practices.

A delivery driver suffered severe head injuries after a fall and a case is now being brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) against WE Roberts based at Thames Works, Northfleet in Kent.Reports of the incident state that the man was trying to pull a pallet of cardboard boxes across his trailer from the driver's side to the curb side when the strapping snapped and he fell nearly three metres backwards and 1.5 metres down onto the pavement.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Michelle Taylor said: "The company failed to adequately consider the risks that delivery drivers face when they are not on site. This led to this severe and entirely preventable incident which has had such a long-lasting and devastating effect on this worker."

Injuries occurred on August 27th 2009 when the man in question was delivering flat-pack cardboard boxes to an address in Eastbourne.The incident may have been prevented if the company had taken suitable e-learning sessions on health and safety in the workplace.

WE Roberts was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay legal costs of £12,190. Ms Taylor added that the outcome of this case reinforces the responsibility that employers have to all of their workers, wherever they are, not just those on site under constant supervision.

Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."

From 2009 to 2010, there were 121,430 reported injuries to employees under reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations, a rate of 473 per 100,000 employees. Analysis also showed that there were 152 work-related deaths last year, a rate of 0.5 per 100,000 employees.