£140,000 fine for crush injuries
Leicester Crown Court has fined a Leicester based aluminium fabricator £140,000 and ordered to pay £32,251.31 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) held an investigation into how a 33 year old worker was crushed when a lifting truck he was using tipped over. The employee was using the vehicle to collect and return metal moulds to and from storage racking.
The worker was taken to hospital but died the next day of his crush injuries.
The HSE told the court that the firm failed to perform an adequate risk assessment for the required task and, there were no safe systems for working with a lifting vehicle in an area of the warehouse with narrow aisles.
After the case was heard, Berian Price from the HSE stated:
“This incident happened because of management’s failure to ensure a safe system of work was in place that was clearly understood and adhered to by employees and supervised by departmental management. This stemmed in part from the lack of appropriate controls to prevent the lifting truck coming into contact with overhead beams, and from poor control of working practices.
“In addition, there was a failure on behalf of management to record and learn from previous near-miss incidents.
“Lifting operations, which often present severe risks to workers, must be properly planned, controlled and adequately supervised. Serious and fatal incidents have occurred due to workers being crushed by lifting equipment
“It is therefore important to properly enforce, plan and organise lifting operations so they are carried out in safe manner. Each of these elements requires a person or people with sufficient competence to be notified at each step.
“For complex and high-risk operations, the planning and organisation should be extensive and meticulous. Duty holders should also consider ‘foreseeable misuse’, such as overloading.”