Forklift accidents

Concrete firm in court after worker hit by forklift

1st Dec. 2012 A Shropshire concrete firm has been prosecuted after a worker suffered serious leg injuries when he was hit by a forklift truck.

The employee, aged 38, of Hadley, was responsible for removing excess concrete from moulds at the company's Telford factory.

The injured man was putting the excess concrete in a bucket and then onto the prongs of the forklift.

He was working in close proximity to the forklift, when he was struck by the vehicle.

He suffered multiple foot fractures, needed four screws in his broken ankle and also hurt his knee. He had to have two operations and is still unable to work following the incident on 7 July 2011.

Telford Magistrates heard todaythat the Health and Safety Executive found there was a written instruction in the factory stating the bucket should be placed on a pallet, not directly on the forks. This had not been translated into Polish for the benefit of the migrant labour the company employed, many of whom, like the injured man, did not speak English.

The company, based in Halesfield, Telford, Shropshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The firm was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,897

After the hearing HSE inspector Katharine Walker said:

"The incident was entirely preventable. Had the instruction requiring the use of a pallet to move the waste been translated into Polish and effectively communicated to the workers, Mr xxxxxxx would not have had to endure these painful injuries.

"The company took no effective steps to prevent this incident. They relied heavily on migrant labour but lacked the arrangements to allow those workers to enjoy the expected level of safety.

"The company had allowed an unsafe custom and practice to develop. There was no effective segregation of vehicles and pedestrians and the means of transporting the waste concrete was bound to bring the two into contact.

"Mr xxxxxxx had been working in this manner for a number of weeks - it was not a single error on a single day; there was an inevitability that someone was going to get hurt."