Forklift accidents

Reversing forklift injures employee's leg

pedestrian warning signDec 3rd 2012. An employee suffered leg injuries when a reversing forklift truck struck him while working at a cardboard factory.

The employee of Abercarn, was inspecting production in an area of the factory at the Prince of Wales Industrial Estate, Abercarn, Caerphilly when the incident happened on 11 April 2011.

The employer was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £14,000 in costs by Caerphilly Magistrates in a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive.

The court was told that the forklift truck was reversing around a storage area to drop off an empty pallet when it struck the pedestrian, who was carrying out routine work on stock in the area. Although the forklift was travelling at a slow speed, the man suffered a broken ankle and fractured heel and subsequently developed deep vein thrombosis.

An investigation by the HSE revealed that the forklift was fitted with reversing alarms, but these were not audible over the noise in the production area. No other safety measures were used, such as mirrors or flashing lights on the vehicles.

Although the company had a transport policy, they had not adequately assessed the risk to all pedestrians and there were inadequate measures in place to separate pedestrians from forklift vehicles in the production area. Despite the transport policy highlighting the need for other safety devices such as mirrors, these were not fitted to the vehicles.

HSE Inspector, Dean Baker, speaking after the hearing, said: "The employee has suffered great pain and developed longer term health problems as a result of this avoidable incident. "Every year there are over 60 deaths from work-related transport accidents and over 2,000 major injuries.

"Employers must ensure that they assess the movement of vehicles and where possible segregate pedestrians to eliminate the risk. If this is not possible, measures such as audible reversing alarms, mirrors, flashing lights and clearly marked pedestrian zones should be considered to prevent future injuries and fatalities."

The company pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.