Tuesday 24 September 2013

Unsafe stacking causes head injury

A Runcorn-based boat manufacturer has been fined after an employee's head was crushed against the top of a lorry container.

The circumstances were:

  • A worker had been lying on top of a stack of kayaks to pull the last ones into a container on 2 March 2011.
  • The company had used this method of loading kayaks for several years, despite employees requesting a ramp to be built to make it easier to load the boats into containers.
  • The company had failed to carry out a risk assessment or provide employees with suitable training. 
  • The work was not properly planned 
  • There was poor communication between the forklift driver and the man in the container.
  • As the worker tried to climb from the container into a cage to be lifted down to the ground by a forklift truck, the forks were raised and he was crushed against the top of the container.
  • The worker sustained a torn ear, three chipped teeth, nerve pain and required several stitches.

Pyranha Mouldings Ltd, was fined £56,562 (inc costs).
The HSE Inspector said:
"The company should never have used a cage to lift workers down from containers, but it allowed this practice to happen over several years. The employee could easily have been killed when he was crushed against the top of the container. Employees had raised concerns about this method and suggested using a ramp instead, but it was only after this incident that Pyranha Mouldings took any action to improve safety. If a ramp had been available at the time of the incident then the employee's injuries could have been avoided. This case shows how important it is that companies listen to their workers and implement safe systems of work."

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