Man in forklift truck loses control of vehicle on ramp causing serious accident…. A driver of a forklift truck was seriously injured when he fell from a ramp while in the vehicle at Sheepbridge Works in Chesterfield on 15 February 2010.
The driver had been attempting to unload a 7 metre long container from a lorry at the plant using a mobile ramp to access the container until the ramp became unstable and separated from the lorry causing the forklift truck with the driver still in it to lose control and fall from the ramp.
The man suffered a range of injuries including a fractured back and was treated in hospital for 8 days and was unable to return to work until 9 months later and then only on a part-time basis.
The HSE investigated the accident and found that the manufacturing company who employed the man, Vesuvius UK Limited, had not implemented any kind of risk assessment protocol for the safe loading and unloading of cargo at the site. The forklift truck drivers had been aware of the problem and improvised by using the forks on the truck to push the ramp back into position when it destabilised. This kind of informal practice was criticise by the HSE as highly dangerous and far from the ideal solution to the problem as it did little to ensure driver safety.
Fiona Coffey who investigated the case for the HSE said:
“Vesuvius UK Ltd failed to proactively assess the risks of loading and unloading using the mobile ramps, a failure that resulted in Mr Baxter sustaining severe injuries.
“The company had a legal duty to ensure work equipment was safe to use and that employees were instructed in safe systems of work and supervised but it had also failed to do so.”
The manufacturing company admitted to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and were fined £24,000 in addition to costs of £4,815.