A London-based recycling and waste management business has been prosecuted after a worker fell from the top of a tipper lorry on his first day at work.
The 40-year-old from Northfleet in Kent broke two ribs, punctured a lung and developed a blood clot in his head as a result of the fall and was unconscious in hospital for two weeks.
Westminster Magistrates Court heard that the worker was on his first day with Quick Skips & Recycling Limited and was collected waste from a site at Horn Lane on Acton in March 2010 belonging to Bridgemarts Limited which traded at Gowing & Pursey.
After loading the lorry, he stopped the vehicle and climbed on top of the tipper unit to check an auto-sheeting device, used to cover the load, that had become jammed.
He manually freed the jam, but the sheet system sprung back, struck him and sent him crashing more than three metres to the ground.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found both companies could and should have done more to prevent the fall.
Bridgemarts, which had overall responsibility for the Acton site failed to adequately control the work at height risks and ensure the safety of a sub-contractor.
Quick Skips allowed systematic failings in health and safety management and as a result was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £2,843 in costs.
Bridgemarts was fined £7,000 with £1,410 in costs in July.
HSE inspector Neil Fry said: “The Quick Skips employee could have died as a result of the fall, which would have been unbelievably tragic on his first day of work at the firm.
“All because of an incident that was entirely preventable and that would never have happened had both companies properly managed the safety risks.
“Incidents of this kind are all too common in the waste industry and effective controls must be put in place to stop employees clambering on top of HGVs without the right safety equipment and agreed safe working protocols.”