Worker crushed by load falling from lift truck
A Rochdale engineering company has been fined after a two-tonne piece of machinery fell onto a labourer, leaving him with multiple fractures. The company, which refurbishes machines for the plastic and rubber industries, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the 21-year-old was crushed when the machine part toppled from a fork lift truck onto his legs.
The worker, who asked not to be named, was preparing to clean a section of machinery when it fell on him in September 2009.
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the two-metre-long machine part knocked the worker to the ground, breaking his collar bone and causing multiple fractures to his legs. He had to wear a cast for several months after the incident and was not able to return to work for 10 months.
The HSE investigation found that the bolts used to hold the machine part on the fork lift truck were not designed for the job.
Inspectors also found that lifting machinery at the site had not been properly checked despite the company receiving an improvement notice from HSE in 2005, which required it to have its lifting equipment properly inspected. While it had complied with the original notice, investigating inspectors found the company had not had the machinery checked frequently enough.
The company also failed to have proper lifting processes in place, with individual employees often having to decide how to carry out particular jobs.
HSE inspector David Norton said: “This was a really nasty incident and the worker is lucky to have escaped much more serious injury. It is vital that companies where workers routinely lift very heavy objects not only provide the right equipment, but also have proper processes in place and plan each job properly to prevent these types of incidents."
The company admitted breaching Health and Safety rules by failing to ensure the safety of their staff during lifting operations. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £4,184 costs.
Last year, there were 32 deaths and more than 22,400 serious injuries in the construction industry in the UK.