Forklift accidents

Forfar firm fined after agency worker injured

forfar galvanisiersA Forfar metal galvanising company has been sentenced after an agency worker suffered serious leg injuries when a half-tonne A-frame slipped and fell onto him from a forklift truck.

Robert Ramsey, 19, of Dundee, an agency worker, had been working at Forfar Galvanisers Ltd premises in Carseview Road, for four months when the incident happened on 20 November 2013.

Forfar Sheriff Court heard that Mr Ramsey had been helping colleagues move the large A-frame, which measured 3.82 metres by 1.6 metres and weighed almost half a tonne.

The A-frame was lifted and moved outside, where it was raining, on the forks of a forklift truck. It was then turned and was being moved into the correct position with Mr Ramsey and another colleague on opposite sides of the A-frame to steady it.

However, the A-frame was not secured to the forks and it began to slip. The forklift driver shouted repeated warnings, and although his colleague heeded them moving out of the way, Mr Ramsey took hold of the A-frame to steady it, but it continued to slip and fell onto him.

Mr Ramsey suffered serious injuries to his legs including bruised bones, trapped nerves, muscle and tissue damage as well as severe swelling and external bruising. He was off work for several months and could only walk short distances. He has now made a full recovery

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed Forfar Galvanisers Ltd did not have in place a safe system of work for the task. The company had developed a procedure for moving ungainly loads following a similar incident in 2007, but this had not been implemented.

HSE had also offered advice to the company in 2007, which recommended that when lifting and moving unstable loads, additional securing arrangements should be used when moving items on forklift trucks. It was also recommended that if operators were required to steady loads in transit, tag lines should be used rather than direct contact, to keep operators well out of harm’s way.

Since the incident the company has issued instructions that loads should preferably be carried flat rather than suspended and has commissioned a specialist company to investigate whether a clamping attachment could be used to enable loads to be secured to the forks of the forklift.

Forfar Galvanisers Ltd, of Carseview Road, Forfar, was fined £7,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.