Metal Company Fined after Worker Loses Foot
A metal company based in Bedfordshire has been fined following an accident at work incident in which an employee lost his foot.
Luke Simpson, an agency worker for Smiths Metal Centres Limited, suffered severe injuries to his leg when a trolley carrying a bundle of 18 stainless steel bars, weighing about 900kg, fell onto his legs.
At the time of the incident, Mr Simpson and a colleague were moving the four wheeled trolley when it tipped over. The metal stock fell from the top of the trolley and landed on Mr Simpson, trapping his leg and foot. An ambulance was called to the scene and he was taken to hospital.
Luton Magistrates’ Court heard that the metal trolleys had been used on site for around 20 years without an incident occurring.
During the incident Mr Simpson broke his right leg and his right foot was severely crushed. The 24 year old underwent numerous surgeries following the incident, but unfortunately his foot could not be saved and required amputation. He now has a prosthetic foot and after being unable to work for a number of months, he now can only work on a part time basis.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Smiths had originally bought the trolleys to be used as work stations; however staff had taken it upon themselves to use them to move metal stock.
Inspectors found that there was no written system of work in place for the trolleys at the time of the incident.
Furthermore, during the HSE investigation it was found that the trolley in question had faulty wheels – there was no record of any maintenance being carried out on any of the trolleys.
After the accident the trolley was given a safe working load of 500kg, over half the weight of the load on the trolley at the time of the incident.
After pleading guilty to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Smiths Metal Centres Limited of Stratton Business Park, Bedfordshire was fined £130,000. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £2,456.40 and a victim surcharge of £120.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Emma Page said:
“Luke’s life has been drastically altered by what happened and this incident could have been very easily avoided with some very simple measures. The right equipment and a correct maintenance system would have prevented this from happening.”
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Source: Health & Safety Executive