Pallet weighing more than a tonne topples onto young worker…
A teenage worker was seriously injured when a pallet weighing more than a tonne toppled onto his legs, trapping him at a business park in Elland on 16 March 2011.
The 18-year-old accident victim suffered a broken leg in the incident and spent three days in hospital while his injuries were treated. He has since made a full recovery and found employment elsewhere.
The subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident uncovered some safety failings leading them to prosecute the West Yorkshire company that employed the young man.
Halifax Magistrates’ Court heard that the accident victim was working from the inside of a container and in the process of unloading some of the pallets when a double-stacked pallet suddenly fell and hit him. The court was also told that the system of work for unloading the pallets didn’t meet expected safety standards and the employees didn’t have the necessary equipment to carry out the work in a safe manner. It was discovered that one of the forklift trucks used by the company didn’t have a valid lifting certificate and that pallets were being moved that exceeded the recommended capacity for the vehicle.
The textiltes company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £4,994 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
HSE Inspector David Welsh commented after the sentencing:
“A young worker suffered a serious injury that could have been far worse as a result of this company’s numerous failures. This was not an isolated breach as it was clear these unloading operations had been taking place in an unsafe manner for some time.
“The company was very poor at assessing and managing risks arising from this work, despite its dangers being well recognised within the industry.
“Unloading pallets appears to be a simple operation but it needs to be planned carefully, workers need the right equipment for each kind of unloading task, and the employer needs to actively supervise them.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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