An employee fractured his spine in a work accident that was avoidable if the company had been following health and safety guidance, a court heard.
The 26-year-old was sweeping up plastic from a warehouse floor when he was struck by a 400kg bale that toppled from a forklift truck on 18 August 2011, Preston Magistrates’ Court was told.
The forklift driver lifted two bales from a stack by clamping hold of the bottom bale and resting the other on top, which then fell off as he moved the bales.
HSE forklift truck guidance
Guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises against lifting two heavy items in this way after several deaths were caused by toppling loads, the court was told.
Anyone needing help with compensation or other issues related to accident claims can contact Accident Advice Helpline for expert advice.
The HSE prosecuted the company in this case, Preston Plastics Ltd, of Pittman Way in Fulwood, for failing to properly plan the work so it could be carried out safely.
After pleading guilty to a breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, Preston Plastics Ltd was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £4,533 in prosecution costs.
Work accident ‘could have been avoided’
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Rohan Lye said the work accident could have been avoided if the company’s procedure was to lift only one bale at a time with the forklift truck – a practice it has since adopted.
The waste and recycling sector has been classified as one of the most dangerous industries in Britain.
Its death rate is 16 times higher than the national average, with the latest figures showing a total of 10 workers lost their lives in the industry in 2012/13.
Source: Health and Safety Executive