Maidstone Magistrates’ Court has fined a Sheerness based company £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,036 after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
A twenty year old engineer was helping his colleague off load some fabricated metal sheets each weighing approximately 700 kg became dislodged from its lifting device. The metal sheet fell onto his feet, slicing three toes off his left foot and causing fractures to all his right toes.
The incident occurred in February 2014 and the employee has returned to work for light duties but is still recuperating.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation highlighted the lifting magnet used to manoeuvre the sheets was inadequate to withstand the weight and size of the materials used that day.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Rob Hassell said:
“[The employee], a young engineer, had his life put on hold after suffering a debilitating injury that may impair his ability to walk for the foreseeable future.
“The incident could have been prevented if [the company] had carried out suitable checks to ensure the lift was within the operating capacities of the magnet. Instead, it seems that in an attempt to improve deliveries, an entirely inappropriate piece of lifting equipment was chosen.
“Companies should ensure the equipment they want to use is fit for its intended purpose. Manuals for lifting devices are available to download or direct from the makers. The safe working load (SWL) of lifting equipment is a maximum capacity in optimum conditions – any deviation needs to be investigated and tested.”