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Forklift accidents

Company in court after worker seriously injured in fall from unsecured forklift platform

A Trowbridge company and one of its directors have been fined for safety failings after a worker was seriously injured in a four metre fall from an unsecured metal platform balanced on the raised forks of a fork lift truck.

The man, who does not wish to be identified, fractured his right wrist and right eye socket and also suffered severe internal bruising in the incident at the White Horse Business Park on 14 January 2013. He was unable to work normally for several months and still requires further surgery.

The fall occurred as he was undertaking cable installation work on behalf of an electrical contractor. The company was prosecuted alongside the sales director after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found access for the work at height was inherently unsafe.

Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard that although a scissor lift was kept on site for such work, it was no longer available for use, and the equipment the workers were expected to use instead was entirely inappropriate.

HSE established that the sales director suggested raising a metal stillage or cage on the forks of a fork lift truck to provide a work platform. He was aware that the stillage was simply resting on, but not secured to, the forks of the truck, with nothing to prevent it from sliding along the forks or tilting to either side.

The court was told that had the work been properly planned and managed, with suitable equipment in place, the incident could have been avoided.

The company, of Clarksmill, Stallard Street, Trowbridge, was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The sales director, of The Common, Broughton Gifford, Melksham, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,315 in costs for the same offence.

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