A worker suffered serious injuries after plunging four metres from an unsecured metal platform balanced on a lifting truck’s raised forks, a court heard.
Summit Chairs Ltd, of Trowbridge in Wiltshire, and company sales director Roy Gurney, of Melksham, were both fined after admitting they breached the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Swindon Magistrates’ Court fined the firm, of Clarksmill, Stallard Street £7,500 with £4,000 costs – while Mr Gurney of The Common, Broughton Gifford, was given a £3,000 fine and ordered to pay costs of £1,315.
Magistrates heard the worker, who does not want to be named, had been helping to install cables on behalf of an electrical contractor when the accident happened at Summit Chairs’ premises on the White Horse Business Park in January last year.
Accident was avoidable
The court was told that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that Mr Gurney had suggested raising a metal cage on a fork lift truck to act as a work platform for the job.
It found he was aware that the platform was not secured to the forks of the truck, meaning there was nothing to stop it tilting or sliding along them.
The court then heard that the man suffered severe internal bruising as a result of his fall from height, along with fractures to his right eye socket and right wrist.
Seventeen months on the man still needs further surgery and, as a result of his injuries, was left unable to work normally for months, magistrates were told.
The HSE said its investigation concluded that the way the work was being carried out had been inherently unsafe while the equipment workers were asked to use had been totally inappropriate.
The court heard thought the firm once had a scissor at the site to enable such jobs to be undertaken, but it was no longer available for use.
The HSE told magistrates that the accident would have been avoided if suitable equipment been used and had the job been properly managed and planned.
Accident Advice Helpline can help people who think they may have grounds for a compensation claim after being injured in an accident at work.
Date Published: June 19, 2014
Author: David Brown