A boat manufacturer has been fined £50,000 after a worker’s head was crushed against the top of a lorry container. Pyranha Mouldings Ltd were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the workplace accident which caused this worker’s head injury at its factory on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate in Runcorn, Cheshire in March 2011.
The unnamed 49-year-old employee from Northwich had been lying on top of a stack of kayaks to pull the last ones into a container, Chester Crown Court heard. But as he tried to climb from the container into a cage, to be lifted down to the ground by a forklift truck, he was crushed against the top of the container, leaving him with a torn ear, three chipped teeth and nerve pain.
The court was told that the company had used this method of loading kayaks for several years, despite employees requesting a ramp be built to make it easier to load the boats into containers.
An HSE investigation found that Pyranha had used an unsafe system to load the kayaks and failed to carry out a risk assessment or provide employees with suitable training. The work was also not properly planned and there was poor communication between the forklift driver and the man in the container.
Along with the fine, Pyranha was ordered to pay £6,562 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Accident could have been fatal
If you have been injured at work, you may be eligible for compensation, and here at Accident Advice Helpline we can provide you with a specialist lawyer.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Adam McMahon 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.”
Source: Northwich Guardian
Date Published: September 24, 2013
Author: David Brown