Worker hurt in jump from platform

A 63-year-old employee of a salad growing firm suffered a fractured skull and brain haemorrhage when she had to leap from an out of control mobile working platform, a court has heard.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told how Zofia Jurek was working for Valley Grown Nurseries Ltd in Nazeing, Essex, on 25 July 2013 when she received her injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the firm after an investigation discovered it should have done more to safeguard against such an incident.

The court was told Ms Jurek and other workers used the platforms to pick bell peppers as high as 3m up. The platforms do not have brakes as they are meant for use on level ground but Ms Jurek was working close to the top of a ramp. She intended to move away from the ramp but when she pressed the accelerator it went towards it instead. She jumped off and was knocked unconscious when she hit the concrete floor.

As well as her head injury, Ms Jurek also suffered a broken heel that needed metal plates to heal. She has not been able to go back to work.

The HSE said the company had not properly identified the risks of using platforms near sloping floors and they needed better guard rails and repairs.

After admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Valley Grown Nurseries Ltd, Paynes Lane, Nazeing, Essex, was fined £22,000 and must also pay costs of £8,830