Owners of a Midlands fencing firm have avoided jail after an employee was injured while working.
Maurice Blackford and Susan Hawthorne, owners of Hoo Farm Fencing in Kidderminster, received suspended sentences and a £10,000 fine each after a worker was hit by timber materials falling from a forklift truck.
Raymond Lainsbury, 49, was using a forklift to dip fence posts and frames into timber preservative when the incident occurred on Feb 12, 2016.
Because the method was unsuitable for the task at hand, the materials fell from the frame on the forklift, falling onto Mr Lainsbury and causing his injuries.
Serious safety failings
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered inappropriate working practices existed at the firm.
The HSE also found there to be a lack of appropriate training for using the forklift truck and that routine checks had not been undertaken to ensure the safety of the vehicle.
Worcester Magistrates’ Court sentenced the two defendants to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and both Mr Blackford and Ms Hawthorne were fined.
The judge also ordered the pair to split £4,318 of costs accrued by the HSE while prosecuting the case.
A lucky escape
Mr Lainsbury is still undergoing regular physiotherapy sessions following the incident.
Tariq Khan, a HSE inspector, said Mr Laisbury was “lucky” to have escaped with injuries that were not more serious.
He said: “The seriousness of the safety failings could have resulted in much more severe injuries to Mr Lainsbury who was lucky to walk away from this incident.
“This case highlights the importance of maintaining proper safety practices and also all duty holders will be held accountable for failing to do so.”
Susan Hawthorne of Blackthorne House, Hartlebury Road and Maurice James Blackford of Minster Road, Stourport, Kidderminster both pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Source: Health and Safety Executive