Forklift accidents

Engineering firm sentenced over severed fingers

employee loses fingers on forkliftSept 4th 2012. A Skelmersdale firm which makes outdoor shelters has appeared in court after an employee lost parts of three fingers when his hand became trapped in this forklift truck.

The company, which manufactures shelters for bikes and supermarket trolleys, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its factory on Grimrod Place on 19 May 2011.

Ormskirk Magistrates' Court heard yesterday that the 36-year-old worker from Kirkby, who has asked not to be named, had been helping to transport a three metre wide metal sheet when he was injured.

He and a colleague stood on top of the sheet to stabilise it on the prongs of the forklift so it could be moved, but as the sheet was lowered the worker's left hand became trapped.

He was taken to hospital by ambulance where his fingers were re-attached but has only been able to regain partial use of his hand.

The court was told the company had failed to carry out a proper assessment of the risks faced by their workers. It should not have allowed employees to stand on top of the forks and should have found another way to transport the sheets of metal such as using a large metal basket.

The company pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety or employees. It was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £5,164 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Imran Siddiqui said: "This incident resulted in an employee suffering permanent damage to his left hand because not enough thought was put into his safety.

"The company should simply not have allowed workers to stabilise sheets of metal by standing on top on them on forklift trucks. It would have been obvious to anyone witnessing this that it was unsafe.

"If the company had carried out a proper assessment of the risks its employees faced then this incident could have been avoided."