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Forklift accidents

Employee injured when steel beam falls from forklift

A recycling firm in Bolton has been fined after an employee was badly injured when he was struck by a steel beam weighing more than 100kg.

The 52 year old from Horwich was standing next to a forklift truck in the yard at J Doyle Ltd on Gaskell Street on 18 July 2012 when the six metre long beam slid from the forks and fell onto his left leg.

The worker, who does not want to be named, sustained a fractured ankle, a deep cut to his shin, and bruising and swelling to his shin, ankle and foot.

He was off work for more than three months and now walks with a limp.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an investigation found it had failed to make sure the work to lift beams was planned, supervised or carried out safely.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard another worker at the site had been trying to load the steel beam into an empty skip so it could be delivered to a customer. As he did this, it slid from the forks on the forklift truck injuring the delivery driver.

The HSE investigation found the company had used this method of lifting steel beams on previous occasions, but had failed to plan the work properly.

The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,500 after pleading guilty to breaching the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Emily Osborne said: “The injuries suffered by the employee are still affecting him today, more than a year after the incident, and have caused him a considerable amount of pain.

The firm should never have allowed a long steel beam, weighing over 100kg, to be lifted on a forklift truck in this dangerous way. The work was not planned and the risks ignored.

The company has now stopped using a forklift to lift steel beams and instead uses a HIAB crane on the back of a flatbed truck to deliver steel beams to customers. If they had lifted the beam using this equipment at the time of the incident then the employee’s injuries could have been avoided.”

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