WORKPLACE falls and dangerous machines have been named as the two most common reasons for companies being prosecuted over health and safety breaches in the North West.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) successfully brought 65 cases to court in the region during the 12 months from April 2013, with 14 cases involving work at height and 12 involving unsafe machinery.

HSE prosecutions in Bolton included a construction company and sub-contractor who appeared before magistrates after Simon Brown, from Farnworth, suffered a fractured skull and broken back when he fell from a house roof in Wheatfield Street, Bolton.

In November 2013, Eagle Construction, of Chorley Old Road, Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and was fined £6,000 with £3,000 costs.

Steven Winter, of Watson Road, Farnworth, pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £1,000 with £300 costs.

In January, a Kearsley-based fabric manufacturer was also ordered to pay more than £18,000 in fines and costs after an employee, from Middleton, broke his foot when he was dragged in by the rollers on a machine.

AMR Textiles Ltd, of Springfield Road in Kearsley, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £10,103 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

On average, 23 people are killed while at work in the North West every year, with an estimated 181 lives lost across Great Britain.

In 2012/13, falls from height were the most common cause of workplace deaths, accounting for almost a third of fatal injuries to workers.

Steven Smith, HSE’s head of operations in the North West, said: “It’s vital that firms carrying out work at height do more to stop employees being injured in falls.

“That could include using scaffolding or harnesses, or installing netting under fragile roof panels.

“Factories also need to do more to make sure their machines are safe to use. That means installing suitable guards to prevent workers being trapped by dangerous moving parts and ensuring that maintenance work is carried out safely.”

The figures also show the manufacturing industry was responsible for almost one in five deaths and injuries to workers, despite the sector only employing around 10 per cent of the British workforce.