Wednesday 29 January 2014

Worker falls from forks of forklift truck

Joseph Heler Ltd, a Cheshire cheese manufacturer has been fined £8,709 (inc.costs) after a worker injured his leg and ankle when he fell from the forks of a forklift truck during an unsafe loading operation.
The circumstances were:
  • The injured worker had been helping to load cheese onto a wagon so it could be delivered to a customer.
  • He was being lifted up to the wagon, with one foot on each prong on the forklift, when the forks hit the back of the vehicle and jolted. 
  • It had become common practice for people to be lifted on forklift prongs. 
  • Despite this being illegal, the company had failed to identify it as an issue.
  • He fell around a metre to the ground below, suffering cuts to his left leg and multiple fractures to his ankle.

The HSE Inspector  said:
"The injuries suffered by the worker could easily have been life-threatening had he struck his head when he fell. His employer regularly allowed workers to stand on the forks on forklift trucks, despite this being illegal and posing a clear risk. Joseph Heler failed to give its employees any guidance on how they should access and load the wagon, and failed to put systems in place to make sure the risk of injury was minimised. The changes the company has made following the incident show it would have been possible for the work to be carried out safely.”

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