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 LP Foreman Sons Ltd 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 (HSE), which today (1 April) prosecuted LP Foreman Sons Ltd 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.
LP Foreman Sons Ltd 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.
After the case, HSE Inspector Paul Grover, said:
“This was an entirely preventable injury caused by LP Foreman Sons’ 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.”
Advice about the safe management of workplace transport can be found on the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/index.htm
Notes to Editors
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace [Health, Safety and Welfare] Regulations, 1992 states: “Every workplace shall be organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate in a safe manner.”
- HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press