Construction firm in court over worker’s multiple injuries
A Glasgow based construction company has been fined for serious safety failings after a worker was severely injured when he was crushed under nearly two tonnes of plasterboard.
The injured man, a joiner for a building services company, was putting up plasterboards inside an extension at a house in Cochno Road East, Duntocher, when the incident happened in icy conditions on 6 January 2011.
Dumbarton Sheriff Court was told that his employer, had brought more plasterboards sheets for the job and was using a forklift truck to lift the load onto the site. He drove the unsecured load of 82 plasterboard sheets, weighing 1925kg, down the road towards the extension and began to lower them into a courtyard. The court heard that the forks were iced up and the road had not been gritted.
The worker, then 36, and another employee were in the courtyard below the forklift and watched the boom extend over a demolished wall. As the workers began to guide the load from the forklift to the ground the injured man, who was not wearing a hi-vis vest and could not see the forklift operator, noticed the plasterboard move. As he tried to get out of the way, he slipped. The load fell off the forks and landed on him trapping him.
On hearing his screams, the other site workers tried to lift the plasterboard but as it was too heavy, The forklift was driven into the courtyard to lift the boards off the worker.
He was taken to hospital with a broken rib, pelvis, punctured lung and fractures to his right ankle and both legs. He returned to work after five months but continued to suffer from chronic pain and resigned a year later. However, he returned to the company in April this year.
The company was prosecuted after a Health and Safety Executive investigation found that the company failed to address how the plasterboard could be lifted and moved safely, particularly at the time when the site was badly affected by ice.
The court was told the forklift driver had not received basic training in using a forklift truck. A trained operator would have considered the safest route and ensured that people would not be working in the area while material was being unloaded. He would also have recognised that there was ice on the forks of the truck which would make the load more likely to move.
The company, of Drymen Road, Bearsden, Glasgow, was fined £8,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.