Forklift accidents

Two firms sentenced after worker’s hand crushed

June 12th 2014. Two engineering businesses have been fined for safety failings after a worker’s hand was crushed while unloading steel beams. The injured man, aged 54, had delivered the beams to a company's premises in Plean, Stirling, on 6 October 2010. He was working with a forklift truck driver from another company on the unloading operation when he was struck by a falling beam.

Stirling Sheriff Court was told that the injured worker, an HGV driver for the company, was standing on the flatbed trailer when the forklift began to raise the second bundle.

As it was lifted, the steel became unstable and rolled away from the forklift truck. The metal strapping broke and the beams separated, falling towards him. He attempted to jump out of the way but was hit by one of the beams which trapped his feet against the flatbed trailer. He fell towards the ground with his feet still trapped and put his right hand down to break his fall.

All four fingers on his right hand were shattered and he had a laceration across his palm which damaged the nerves, exposed the tendons and cut the blood supply to his fingers. He underwent a twelve hour emergency operation to save and rebuild his right hand but he has yet to regain sufficient function in his right hand to return to work as an HGV driver and may never do so.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive determined it would have been good practice to sling the load using a truck fitted with a hook attachment, and the beams should not have been lifted until the injured man had returned to the ground and was in a safe position. Both companies had compromised safety by neglecting to fully assess the risks involved in unloading the steel beams.

One company was fined £16,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974. and the other was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3 of the same Act.