Driver of stacker lowered containers onto man’s leg unaware he was there… A 73-year-old man had both his legs amputated after they were crushed by a cargo container on 26 March 2010 at an Essex port.
The man was knocked down by a 45 foot container that had been lowered by a reach stacker. The HSE investigation of the accident revealed that the driver of the reach stacker was unaware that the accident victim was on the quayside and continued to lower containers onto his legs oblivious to the damage he was causing. The injuries sustained by the employee were such that he had to have both of his legs amputated later in hospital.
Basildon Crown Court heard that the berth operator responsible for work at the port had not taken all driver safety concerns into consideration to ensure the safety of both drivers and pedestrians in the proximity of dangerous equipment or machinery.
The berth operator admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined a total of £20,000 with costs to be decided at a later date.
HSE Inspector Toni Drury spoke after the hearing:
“This incident clearly demonstrates why it is essential that the risk arising from the movement of vehicles and large lifting plant at docks is carefully managed.
“It is common for a wide range of vehicles and equipment to have to use shared space on the docks. There may also be workers on foot undertaking tasks such as guiding loads, removing twist-locks or supervising operations. Good co-ordination and co-operation between all those who are in control of the berth, the operations and the workforce is a necessity, and an agreed safe system of work must be properly communicated and training provided to all involved.
“HSE will not hesitate to take action where there is a risk of serious harm to people at work.”
The man’s employer had also been prosecuted for alleged breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 but was found not guilty at an earlier hearing.