Two contractors were injured in a fall at a recycling plant, a court heard.
Magistrates heard the pair had been lifted in caged containers, balanced on the prongs of two forklift trucks, to help fix a roller-shutter door at Eurokey Recycling Ltd’s site in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
The cages had been lowered at different speeds, causing them to destabilise and sending the men – Richard Norton, 43, and 30-year-old Craig Dunn – falling more than two metres to the floor.
Mr Norton, of Leicester, was off work for five months after breaking his right wrist in the accident at work in February 2013. Meanwhile, Mr Dunn, from Sutton Coldfield, could not work for three months after tearing muscles in his back, the court heard.
Magistrates heard that an investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had established that the containers were not strapped to the forklifts and were not equipped with fork pockets that would have enabled them to have been secured to the trucks. Neither contractor, meanwhile, knew that the containers were designed to lift goods rather than people, the HSE inquiry found.
Workers’ safety ‘at obvious risk’
Eurokey Recycling Ltd, of RD Park, Hinckley, was fined £9,000 with £1,880 costs after admitting two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations.
Following the court case David Lefever, an HSE inspector, said the work system used had been inappropriate and put the contractors’ safety at obvious risk.
Mr Lefever said workers should not be lifted on pallets or similar containers balanced on a forklift truck’s prongs as there was a risk they could fall off. He said man-cages or other non-integrated working platforms could only be used in exceptional circumstances when it was not practical to hire specially-built equipment, adding that had not been the case at the recycling site.
Source: Leicester Mercury