Worker needed reconstructive surgery

A forklift truck operator has admitted safety failings after a teenager was hit by a falling heater unit weighing almost half a tonne.

The accident at work left the 18-year-old worker, who does not want to be named, with multiple fractures to his right shoulder, left shin bone and left ankle.

He required reconstructive surgery following the incident at a manufacturing company in Maidstone on 25 June 2013.

Crushed

Maidstone Magistrates’ Court heard how a large unit weighing in the region of 493kg fell on the youngster after he was asked to hold it in place on the forks of a truck driven by co-worker Stephen Bellingham.

The Health and Safety Executive found that the 49-year-old had taken it upon himself to move the heater in an inherently unsafe manner. He was an experienced forklift operator, but he failed to assess the risks and possible consequences, putting his colleague in danger.

Inspectors concluded that had the lift been properly planned and managed, an alternative, safer method could have been found.

Personal injury claim

Anyone who has been injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault in the last three years could be entitled to personal injury compensation.

How much money you receive will differ depending on the type and severity of the injury. Get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline to see whether you have a case to make a claim.

Stephen Bellingham, of Brooklands Road, Larkfield, was fined a nominal £270 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The low penalty reflects the fact he was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct following the incident. Magistrates declared a higher fine would not compensate for the suffering he has already endured because of a momentary lapse of judgement.

Source: Kent Online

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