A young employee at a timber firm was left unable to work for several months after being run over by a forklift truck, a court heard.
James Abrahams’ employer, Jon Walker Timber Product Ltd, has been fined £15,000 with £9,850 costs after pleading guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
Magistrates heard that the 21-year-old, sustained leg fractures, dislocated his toes and suffered deep grazing in the accident at the firm’s yard at Calverton, Nottingham, in July 2012.
The court was told that Mr Abrahams had been walking next to the forklift truck to keep a pallet of fencing stable when he was run over.
It heard that since the accident at work Mr Abrahams, who was in hospital for 12 days, had not gone back to work for the firm.
Magistrates heard that a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation had established that the firm had no system in place for the safe transportation of pallets.
Accident ‘entirely preventable’
The HSE said vehicles and employees on foot shouldn’t have been so close to each other. It said workers hadn’t received adequate training, instruction or information, adding that the company had not conducted a risk assessment.
The court also heard that four months before the accident the forklift operator’s licence had expired while other unlicensed employees were also driving forklift trucks at the site.
Magistrates were told that in the past the HSE had given the firm written advice about forklift driver training and other transport issues.
Following the case HSE inspector Samantha Farrar said while the accident was easily preventable, Mr Abrahams could easily have been killed.
She said it had become usual practice for workers to walk alongside forklifts to hold their loads when the pallets were unsteady. But she said the practice was unsafe and had led to Mr Abrahams’ serious injuries.
The inspector said while over 5,000 incidents a year involved vehicles in the workplace the number could be reduced by firms providing proper training and providing safe working systems based on the findings of risk assessments.
Source: Nottingham Post
Date Published: August 6, 2014
Author: David Brown