Company failed to carry out risk assessment that might have prevented accident…
A company that manufactures outdoor shelters has been prosecuted by the HSE after one of their employees had three of his fingers severed when his hand became trapped in a forklift truck.
The firm based in Skelmersdale, appeared at Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court to answer charges relating to the incident which occurred on 19 May 2011.
The court heard that the 36-year-old accident victim from Kirkby was in the process of transporting metal sheets when the accident happened. The man along with a colleague were standing on top of a three metre wide metal sheet while it was on the forklift in order to keep it stable. However as the sheet was lowered the man’s left hand became trapped in part of the forklift’s loading mechanism. Three of his fingers were severed in the accident and he was immediately transported to local hospital where an attempt was made to reattach them – however he has since only been able to regain partial control of his hand.
His employer was criticised in court for failing to carry out an adequate risk assessment – it was pointed out that the employees should not have been allowed to stand on top of the metal sheets while they were being transported on the forklift and an alternative safer method could have been used like a metal basket.
The company pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 which deemed it culpable in failing to ensure the safety of staff. It was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £5,164 in costs.
HSE Inspector Imran Siddiqui commented after the hearing:
“This incident resulted in an employee suffering permanent damage to his left hand because not enough thought was put into his safety.
“The company should simply not have allowed workers to stabilise sheets of metal by standing on top on them on forklift trucks. It would have been obvious to anyone witnessing this that it was unsafe.
“If the company carried out a proper assessment of the risks its employees faced then this incident could have been avoided.”
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