A van manufacturer in Bedfordshire has been found guilty of two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and two breaches of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.
Luton Crown Court fined the firm £155,000 and ordered to pay £22,795 after hearing the details of a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into how an employee sustained significant crush injuries.
The worker suffered injuries such as a collapsed lung, fractured arm, breastbone and ribs. He has been hospitalised requiring operations and remains unable to work.
The HSE told the court that the accident occurred when the employee was manoeuvring a die block which weighed approximately eight tonnes. Whilst doing this, and unhooking lifting chains from a fifty tonne crane, the machinery began to move and dragged the die block trapping the employee.
The court also heard that the safety equipment preventing the crane from moving in error was missing. Furthermore, ten cranes on site had missed annual maintenance and safety checks and training and advice for employees was inadequate.
After the hearing, the HSE Inspector Stephen Manley, said:
“There were multiple failings on the part of IBC Vehicles Ltd. Cranes had not been maintained or inspected properly, operators had not been given adequate information or regular training, and lifting operations were not properly planned, including in particular the systems for daily checks on the equipment, to ensure the lifts were then carried out safely.”
“Although only a small number of these failings may have contributed towards the incident in July 2011, as a whole they had the potential to create a serious risk to which many employees at the company would have been exposed for some considerable time.”