Jump to content

Working At Height - A Cautionary Tale

Guest lightnix

Recommended Posts

Guest lightnix

I just found this on the HSE website, while looking for something else. It's not related to entertainments, but highly relevant nonetheless...


Offences and penalties report - Graham Walton


The summary

This was an incident investigated by the Health and Safety Executive in April 2004. Graham Walton, a long term casual worker, fell about 2.5 metres from a potato box balanced on the forks of a fork lift truck, breaking his leg, pelvis and ankle. The incident happened in the potato store on a farm in North Yorkshire where Mr. Walton was lifted up in the potato box to unhook the tarpaulin covering the store entrance. The box toppled sideways and he fell to the stone floor. A safety cage should have been used at this height and an instruction had been issued to do so. The staff did not consider it necessary for this brief task.


The personal cost

Graham Walton, aged 50 years,... had been employed as a casual worker for three years working with a potato merchant. “...I was employed for about ten months of each year and we were always extremely busy. I liked the job. I was used to working long hours and anything outdoors in agriculture really suited me... The last thing I remembered was the potato box I was standing in on the fork lift began to wobble. When I came to I was lying on the floor. It was very cold and I felt numb.”


...Mr Walton was in hospital in Scarborough for nearly three months... he he only made slow progress in regaining his health. Any effort left him breathless and perspiring... "I had suffered embolisms due the fact that I had been unable to move for so long, which had damaged my lungs. I had to accept the fact that I was finished and would never work again. I had always enjoyed work, the outdoor life and the company of my workmates. That was all gone and I became very depressed. I am making the best of it and potter about at home doing what I can. I can only move about for about ten minutes at a time and then have to rest. My partner, Kathleen, suffers severe arthritis and osteoporosis so we are both very limited in what we can do. I think back with regret. We had a safety cage at work but were always so rushed at work that it was the norm to ignore it. It is too late for me now but my advice to anyone working would be to think before you act and always use the safety equipment however pushed you are for time.

(my emphasis)


Full version here...



There but for the grace of God go... how many of us? :off:


Let's try not to let it be any of our names in the title :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that sums it up beutifully Lightnix.


How many of us have just jumped onto the flightcase rather then fetching the a-frame?

How many of us have leant out just that "Little" bit far, rather then move the tallescope?

How many of us have not worn a harness because it would take longer to fetch it then do the job?


"It's only a five minute job" "I've done this hundreds of times before" "I'm sure I'll be okay if I just..."


Very, very scary stuff. - As Elton John sang "Life is a delicate thing..."


God forbid, that anyone here ends up "Starring" in a similar article...






Now I am NOT in ANY way insinuating that the company reffered to HERE is related - :off: maps puts about 172 miles between them, but it appears that the potato industry is not a safe one...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest lightnix

Thanks, Jim :P


I think the one bit that stood out for me the most and possibly more than anything in any other report I've ever read, was...

...I had to accept the fact that I was finished and would never work again... the outdoor life and the company of my workmates. That was all gone and I became very depressed...


What would I stand to lose from an accident like that? More than my working life, that's for sure and as we live in an upstairs maisonette, I doubt that I'd get out much beyond the back garden. No more skating, no more poi, no more martial arts, festivals, long country drives, gardening... no more anything, really :(


Depressed? I'd be suicidal :off:




And that's why I get sooo pissed off with the "just do it" culture backstage sometimes; not just from mangement, but colleagues as well. Yes, 999 times out of 1,000 it will probably be OK (just like it probably was on the potato farm), but the one time it isn't...

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.