Two employees who suffered injuries at separate plants operated by a major distillery has led to the firm being fined £18,000.
Diageo Scotland admitted failure to take suitable safety measures when work was being carried out at height – and a failure to ensure health and safety of their employees in two separate incidents.
Robert Edward fell almost 13 feet from a ladder when he was clearing a blockage in a grain silo at Diageo’s maltings plant on King Street in Burghead on New Year’s Day in 2012.
Then 51-years-old, Mr Edward was found taken to hospital with concussion and a cut to his head.
On March 16 of the same year in a second incident at the Glenlossie grants plant in Elgin, Peter Douglas fell six feet when standing on a loader shovel to wash the roof.
Mr Douglas, who was 43 at the time of the accident, suffered from a bleed to the brain and shattered bone in his left leg.
Elgin Sheriff Court was told on Thursday that a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incidents found that Diageo had failed to take sufficient steps to prevent the use of unsafe ladders at Burghead Maltings.
The company’s solicitor told the court that Diageo accepted full responsibility for both incidents and had since taken action to ensure no similar incidents would occur.
Sheriff Susan Raeburn acknowledged Diageo’s commendable health and safety record but considered the second incident to be considerably more serious than the first. She issued a £6000 fine for the Burghead incident and £12,000 for the one at Glenlossie.
HSE’s principal inspector Naill Millar said in a statement after the case: “Both of these incidents, which could have proved fatal for the workers involved, could have been avoided had Diageo Scotland Ltd ensured its employees were adequately protected from the risks associated with their jobs.”
Mr Millar added that in both instances Diageo had provided work height training that included risk assessment training, believing their employees should then be competent to carry our work at height.
He added: “However, it is not sufficient for health and safety instructions merely to be given to workers – employers must also ensure those instructions are carried out.”