Makeshift platform became dislodged from forklift truck causing fall… Two teenage workers suffered serious injuries after falling from a lifting platform while working for a Derbyshire manufacturing company.
The HSE decided to prosecute the company after investigating the accident, a Director of the company is also being prosecuted. One of the teenagers broke his back as a result of the fall on 6 April 2009 while his work colleague, who was also just 18 years old, broke both of his heels and has since had metal pins and a metal plate inserted in the affected areas to aid his recovery.
Derby Crown Court heard that the two young men were putting damaged trolleys into a skip when the accident occurred. They had been using a makeshift lifting platform that had been put together by the Director of the company to enable it to fit on a forklift truck. The platform was being lowered by the forklift truck to the ground when it was suddenly dislodged causing the workers and the platform to fall four and a half metres to the ground below where the two men sustained serious injuries on impact with the ground.
The subsequent HSE investigation found that the company had not fulfilled its duty in safeguarding the health and welfare of their employees while the company director who designed the lifting platform was said to have been guilty of failing to follow safety guidelines in preparing the new platform.
HSE inspector Fiona Coffey spoke after the hearing:
“These two teenagers, who were just embarking on their working lives, narrowly escaped death and have now been left with life-changing physical and psychological injuries. One has even had to abandon his plans to join his father in the asphalt industry as it is too physically demanding.
“The company should have considered if it was necessary to use a platform like this in the first place, and if it was, used something that was legal and safe – this arrangement clearly was not.
“The director put two teenagers in a dangerous position, without thought for the consequences.”
The manufacturing company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £22,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,134.
The company director pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £7,866.
The HSE report that more than 6,300 employees suffered serious injuries after accidents while working at heights last year.