A fork lift truck company has been fined after a worker at its West Bromwich factory fractured a vertebra in his back when one of its vehicles fell from a lorry.
Black Country Magistrates’ Court heard today (23 Sept) that 58-year-old Terence Jones was unloading the forklift at Linde Creighton Ltd, in Dartmouth Road, by driving it down a ramp.
However, the ramp dislodged from the trailer, causing it and the forklift to drop straight down. The truck fell around 1.2 metres, landing upright on all four wheels in the incident on 21 October 2013.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the ramp had not been securely attached to the trailer using both the chains it came with. Although one of the two chains had been attached, the other was left off as overhanging bushes made it difficult to get to the far side of the ramp.
The investigation also found the company had failed to risk assess the activity and monitor and enforce the safe system of work to ensure staff used all the safety critical features when attaching the ramp.
Linde Creighton Ltd, of Kingsclere Road, Basingstoke, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £1,144 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Caroline Lane said:
“Mr Jones had used the ramp at least twice a day to unload fork lift truck deliveries since the company bought it in 2008. The ramp manufacturer had provided instructions for its use, and safety warnings and precautions in the operating and maintenance manual clearly stated that unless restrained, the ramp could move away from the dock of the vehicle and that personnel could fall.
“The incident was therefore entirely foreseeable and preventable. Linde Creighton Ltd had a clear, easily achievable standard to meet but failed to achieve it, resulting in a painful injury to a member of staff.”
Notes to Editors
1. 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
2. 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.
3. Mr Jones has since died of natural causes.