Forklift accidents

Firm in court after contractors hurt in fall from forklifts

A Leicestershire recycling company has been fined after two contractors fell more than two metres while fixing a roller-shutter door.

The contractors arrived at the company's site in Hinckley on 21 February 2013 to carry out the work and found two forklift trucks, each with a caged container balanced on the prongs of the truck.

They got in and each cage was raised to two to three metres while the contractors removed the faulty part of the roller shutter door. However, the cages were not lowered at the same speed, which destabilised the loads and caused them to fall to the ground.

One contractor from Leicester, broke his right wrist and was off work for five months. The other, of Sutton Coldfield suffered several torn muscles in his back and was unable to work for 12 weeks.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found that the containers did not have fork ‘pockets’ to secure them to the trucks and were not strapped to the forklift. In addition, neither of the men realised the containers were not man cages designed to lift people, but were for goods transport.

The company of Logix Road, R D Park, Hinckley, admitted two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,880.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Lefever said:

“The system of work employed for the work activity was totally inappropriate and posed an obvious risk to the safety of the people being lifted. People should never be lifted on a pallet or similar container, balanced on the forks of a lift truck because they can easily fall off.

Non-integrated working platforms, such as man cages, may only be used in exceptional circumstances for occasional unplanned use. Examples might be maintenance tasks where it would be impracticable to hire in purpose built access equipment. That was not the case here.”

Information on working platforms on forklift trucks can be found here