A businessman based in Lancashire has been sentenced after one of his employees sustained serious injury to his back when he fell off a ladder.

South Ribble Magistrates’ Court in Leyland heard that the employee who has asked not to be named, had climbed up a ladder at the commercial vehicle garage to reach the release mechanism for a lorry cab.

The employee fell to the ground when the ladder slipped, causing him to break a vertebrae in his spine. He is still unable to return to work, nearly a year after the incident.

Through investigation the HSE found the ladder had missing feet at both ends, the bottom rung was damaged and it appeared to have been cut off at the top.

Michael Wilson, trading as M Wilson Commercials, admitted breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to make sure the ladder was well maintained. He was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,000 on 2 February 2011.

Matt Lea, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:

“One of Mr Wilson’s employees was badly injured because he was given an unsafe ladder to use. It should have been checked in advance to make sure it was suitable.

“The employee had not received any training on working at height or with ladders, despite regularly needing to do it as part of his job. He therefore simply used the nearest available ladder.