Friday 18 October 2013

Company fined over £25,000 because of unloading accient

Thompsons (UK) Ltd., of Croydon, that builds truck bodies has been fined over £25,000 (inc. costs) after a worker’s leg was crushed as a load slid and fell during unloading.
The circumstances were:
  • Lorry driver Andrew Trotter had delivered sheet metal packs in his  flatbed lorry.
  • The packs were six-metre steel sheets weighing almost 4 tonnes.
  • Thompson workers were transferring them to another lorry using a tandem lift by two counter-balanced forklift trucks.
  • There was a lack of planning which led to Mr Trotter being able to work in close proximity to the chassis lorry as the hazardous re-loading was taking place. 
  • The tandem lift was a complicated procedure that had been neither properly planned nor supervised. Had it been controlled and directed competently, the risk of any incident would have been significantly reduced.
  • The re-loading was unbalanced and as a second pack was being placed on the first, a loose wooden baton became dislodged and the whole sheet steel pack started to slide. 
  • Mr Trotter, who was picking up straps between the two lorries, was struck by the corner of the pack before it hit the concrete floor.
  • He suffered a fractured leg and muscle damage and has limited knee and ankle movement. 

The HSE Inspector said:
“This incident could easily have resulted in death and was completely preventable. The injuries Mr Trotter sustained have been painful and life-changing and, although he can drive his lorry, it is not certain how long he will be able to do so. Thompsons (UK) Ltd failed to make sure that the lifting operation of the sheet metal was properly planned and supervised and then, of course, carried out safely. In addition they had not provided adequate training in the use of the forklift trucks to one of their employees involved in the lifting operation. Employers must ensure that work equipment is used in the correct way and that only trained people are allowed to operate such equipment.”

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