A Basingstoke engineering firm has been sentenced for safety breaches that led to a 42-year-old man being crushed between a telehandler and a steel post at a workshop in West Drayton.
The man, from Berkshire, suffered life-threatening injuries when he was trapped by the machine against the post as he acted as a lookout for the vehicle.
He had to have his spleen and most of his pancreas removed and was in hospital for four months after the incident. He has yet to be able to return to work, but is hoping to do so shortly.
The incident, on 25 September 2013, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted RVC Engineering Ltd for safety failings at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (24 Sept).
The court was told that an impromptu operation had been taking place to enable workers to shunt a broken-down telehandler into the RVC workshop. It was agreed that an HGV would be reversed up to the vehicle to push it just the few feet it needed to end up within the unit.
The injured person was asked to act as a lookout but became trapped between the moving telehandler and the post. He was freed within a few minutes but had suffered severe crush injuries.
RVC Engineering Ltd, of Springpark House, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hants, was fined £6,600 and ordered to pay £1,087 in costs after admitting a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Pete Collingwood said:
“A worker suffered a very serious injury from what was perceived to be an innocuous operation. It was an entirely preventable injury as the maneovre could have been conducted without the need for his involvement.
“Crush injuries are common from reversing vehicles in industry. RVC Engineering should have planned this operation carefully despite it being of a short duration and then ensured the whole thing was adequately supervised.”
For information on safe working with vehicles, visit HSE’s website at http://www.hse.gov.uk
Notes to Editors:
- The Health and Safety Executive 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
- Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”