A 30-year-old employee was off work for six weeks after a heavy metal sheet he was asked to move fell off a lifting magnet and onto his foot at a steelwork firm, a court heard.
The company, Frank H Dale Ltd, of Leominster, Herefordshire, was fined £12,000 and told to pay £11,631.40 costs after admitting it breached the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The man, who does not want to be named, was asked to move a number of six-metre long metal sheets – each weighting 180kg – in October 2012, Hereford Magistrates’ Court heard.
He used an overhead crane equipped with a lifting magnet to do so but, after successfully moving two sheets, the third fell off the magnet, bounced off a conveyor and landed on his foot – fracturing three of his toes.
Instructions not followed
The court heard a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation had established that the magnet was not designed to lift long, thin sheet metal. It also found that the manufacturer’s instructions for its use had not been followed.
Following the court hearing HSE inspector Tariq Khan said the accident at work could have been avoided if suitable training had been provided by the firm.
He said it is essential that lifting magnets are used correctly, their limitations properly understood and their users given adequate training.
Mr Khan added that it was only down to luck that the first two steel sheets had been successfully moved, adding that the man could have suffered a more serious injury had the third sheet fallen straight on to him instead of bouncing off the conveyor first.
Experts at Accident Advice Helpline can help people who’ve been injured in an accident at work make a claim for compensation.