AN Ealing waste company, Quick Skips and Recycling, has been fined for failing to adequately protect its staff after a worker, on his first day in a new job, sustained life-threatening injuries when he fell from a lorry.

The 40-year-old worker, from Northfleet in Kent, punctured a lung, broke two ribs and developed a blood clot in his head when he fell from a tipper lorry at Horn Lane, Acton, on March 2, 2010. He was unconscious in hospital for two weeks.

Quick Skips, of Atlas Road, Ealing, pleaded guilty to breaches of health and safety regulations. The company was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay £2,843 in costs by Westminster magistrates.

The worker was collecting waste in Waxlow Road, Acton, when he climbed on top of his lorry to check a device for covering the load, which was jammed.

Though he managed to manually free the jam, the sheet system sprang back and knocked him three metres to the ground.

HSE Inspector Neil Fry said the man could have died.

While accidents were common in the waste industry, it was crucial that controls were in place to stop workers clambering on top of lorries without the proper safety equipment.