Forklift accidents

Lincolnshire firm in court over worker’s life-changing injuries

A plastics recycling company has been fined for serious safety failings after a worker was stuck by a reversing forklift truck at its Hemswell site.

The worker, a 63-year-old engineer from Scunthorpe, suffered severe back and tissue injuries in the incident at the company’s processing plant on 10 March 2012.

He was walking through the ‘Goods Out’ warehouse when he was hit by the reversing vehicle. He was taken to hospital by air ambulance with internal bleeding, two damaged vertebrae in his lower spine and extensive tissue damage to his back, shoulders, neck, thighs and knees.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive which prosecuted the company at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that the company had designated a separate walkway for pedestrians to use within the waste processing building. However, HSE found the company had allowed the walkway in the ‘Goods Out’ warehouse to be taped off and blocked with building materials and equipment whilst construction work was being carried out.

As a result the injured man and other employees had to share a route used by loaded forklift vehicles which were regularly manoeuvring and reversing. The company took no steps to provide or redirect their employees to an alternative, safe pedestrian route, inside or outside the warehouse.

The company of Hemswell Business Park, Hemswell, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £12,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,261.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Karin Abbott said:

“This could so easily have been a fatal incident. Mr xxxxxx has been left with devastating physical and psychological injuries, which have forced an earlier retirement from work and will leave him in discomfort for the rest of his life".