An Isle of Wight garage has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay a further £10,000 in costs after an employee suffered life-changing injuries when he fell into a vehicle inspection pit over 2 years ago.
Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard earlier this month how on 3rd September 2018, an employee of GP Motors Works Ltd in Bembridge fell into a vehicle inspection pit more than 5ft deep whilst carrying out mechanical repairs to a nearby vehicle.
The court heard how the vehicle inspection pit was partially covered with a small vehicle leaving around 7ft of the pit uncovered and without any other measures in place to prevent exposing employees to an unnecessary fall risk. The employee sustained serious head and shoulder injuries, which required surgery.
As reported by Island Echo at the time, the employee was flown to a mainland hospital by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. Multiple emergency services were involved in the rescue operation to lift the casualty from the bottom of the pit on a stretcher.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to ensure the pit had any physical measures, such as barriers or pit covers, in place to prevent a person falling into it.
GP Motor Works Ltd of Embankment Road, Bembridge pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kate Clark said:
“Serious injuries or death can be prevented if basic safeguards such as barriers or pit covers are put in place. There is clear guidance for garages about vehicle inspection pits.”
GP Motorworks no longer operates from the garage on Embankment Road.