Transport company fined after crate falls on worker

A transport company firm has been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered serious injuries when a crate fell on him whilst he was unloading crates from a container.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard how on April 2013 an employee of Portmans Transport Limited of Felixstowe was assisting to unload two containers which contained two tonne crates of glass mirrors. The second container had no fork pockets or lighting, so the worker had to closely guide the fork lift truck operator to ensure the forks were in position

Some of the crates were jammed in place and as the fork lift truck operator attempted to dislodge them, one of the crates toppled onto the worker, pinning him to the side of the container. The incident has left him with life changing injuries and he will be unable to work for at least three years.

Portmans Transport Limited, of Bryon Avenue, Felixstowe, was fined a total of £9,000, and ordered to pay £917 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Corinne Godfrey said:

“This worker was employed by the company for less than three weeks as a Warehouse Foreman, and although he had previous job experience which involved the maintenance and repair of containers, he had never been involved with this type of unloading work known as ‘devanning’.

This incident was inevitable, neither worker had seen the procedures manual or any risk assessments/method statements relating to the unloading of containers.

The company failed to plan what should happen when it was identified that loads were not able to be readily offloaded by forklift truck.

It’s essential that before any work tasks are carried out, the relevant risks should be identified and appropriate control measures put in place to protect against them

For more information about port container safety log onto the website at

Notes to Editors:

  1. 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. 
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: 
  3. HSE news releases are available at

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