Lancaster-based Northern Tissue Group (NTG Papermill) has been fined £10,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries after a fall in 2009.
The accident took place on August 24 of that year, when the 39-year-old man, who asked not to be named, had been helping to hose down machinery during a two-week shutdown at the factory.
He tried to cross the mezzanine floor, six metres above the ground, but the metal grating gave way as he stepped onto it, injuring his arms, jaw, as well as suffering bruising and friction burns to his chest and arms.
After an investigation into the matter, the HSE found that the company did not have a suitable inspection and maintenance regime for checking the floor at the factory, despite humid conditions and the risk of rust making it an unstable environment.
Anthony Banks, an inspector from the HSE, said after the hearing: “The employee at NTG was lucky he was able to grab onto the mezzanine floor as he fell. If he had fallen all the way to the concrete below then he could have been killed.
“The incident happened in a very humid area of the factory and the company should have done more to make sure metal grates which make up the walkway didn’t become unsafe.
“Companies shouldn’t just wait for employees to be injured before taking any action to improve safety. It’s vital that proper maintenance systems are in place to protect workers.”
Additionally, NTG was also ordered to pay £5,866 in prosecution costs.