Forklift accidents

Packaging company fined after worker’s leg injury

Apl 7th 2014. An Essex based manufacturing company has been sentenced for safety failings after a forklift truck reversed into a delivery driver’s lower leg, fracturing his ankle.

The 44-year-old Witham man was struck by the truck as he stepped from the rear of his lorry after helping the forklift operator to reach a pallet from inside the vehicle at the company in Chelmsford on 19 August 2013.

The worker, who does not wish to be named, suffered a serious fracture of his left ankle, severe damage to tendons and a large fracture blister which covered his lower leg.  He returned on light duties in November 2013 and was able to resume as a driver in January this year.

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

The court heard it had become common practice for van drivers to instruct forklift truck operators where to place loads within their vehicles for ease of delivery. HSE found that even though this brought drivers directly into the area of the yard where forklift trucks were operating, no effective procedures had been established or training provided to ensure that workers on foot and moving vehicles were kept safely apart.

The company of Farrow Road, Widford Industrial Estate, Chelmsford, was fined a total of £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £621 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 .

After the case, HSE Inspector Paul Grover, said:

“This was an entirely preventable injury caused by xxxxx’ failure to recognise the hazards arising from loading operations at their premises.

Our investigation found that there was an absence of effective systems of control which were sufficiently robust to allow workplace transport and pedestrians to circulate the site in safety.

It had become regular practice for delivery drivers to take up positions where forklift trucks were loading or unloading and this unsafe practice has led to a serious injury.”