A factory worker who was crushed by a huge 850kg metal frame had to have part of his leg amputated, a court has heard.
Vincent Sutton, 49, from Mossley, Lancashire, was working for Russell Fabrications (UK) Ltd at the time of the horrific accident, which left him with severe injuries to his left foot.
Both his employer and the company he was delivering to, Delpro Ltd of Glossop, were punished at a prosecution brought about by the Health and Safety Executive.
Derby Crown Court heard that Mr Sutton was delivering the five-metre long rectangular frame, known as a skid, from Russell Fabrications, where it had been manufactured, to Delpro Ltd, on the Brookfield Industrial Estate in Glossop.
The frame had been loaded on to a pickup truck using a crane and some chains. In order to accommodate the skid on the vehicle, the top end of the frame was resting on a support bar above the driver’s cab, with the rest of the structure at an angle.
Once at the Delpro base, work began to remove the frame from the truck. The same chains were used to remove the skid, with one set of chains shorter than the other to compensate for the angle of the frame.
A forklift truck was used to lift the skid, but as it did so, the shorter set of chains came out of the hook and the frame fell two metres to the ground. It landed on Mr Sutton’s left foot, which caused injuries so serious his leg had to be amputated above the knee.
Following the incident, the HSE launched an investigation, which found that neither of the companies had planned how they were going to safely lift the skid onto and off the truck. Inspectors also found that both the truck and the equipment used to lift the skid were not suitable for the task.
Furthermore, Russell Fabrications (UK) Ltd was found to have failed to make suitable arrangements for safe transportation of the frame.
Delpro Ltd pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to ensure the work was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in safely. The company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £8,735 towards the cost of the prosecution on 27 February 2015.
Meanwhile Russell Fabrications (UK) Ltd, of Wood Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, was fined £11,917 with costs of £13,734 after being found guilty of a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 following a trial.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: March 5, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown