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Plastics recycling company fined after worker’s life-changing injuries

ECO Plastics Ltd has been in court for safety failings, after one of its employees was struck by a reversing forklift truck.

What happened?

Robin Eddom, 63, was walking through the warehouse when he was hit by a reversing forklift. He sustained serious injuries, including internal bleeding, extensive tissue damage to his neck, back, shoulders and legs, and two damaged vertebrae in his lower spine.

An investigation found that, though a separate walkway had been designated for pedestrians to use, the firm had allowed the walkway to be taped off and blocked by building materials whilst construction work was carried out.

Because of this, staff were forced to share the same route at loaded forklifts that were regularly manoeuvring around the warehouse.

The court heard that no satisfactory measures were put in place to ensure an alternative, safe pedestrian route was provided for employees.

What was the outcome?

The Lincolnshire-based firm was fined £12,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,261 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

HSE inspector Karin Abbott said:

“This could so easily have been a fatal incident. Mr Eddom has been left
with devastating physical and psychological injuries, which have
forced an earlier retirement from work and
will leave him in discomfort for
the rest of his life.

“The incident was entirely preventable. Mr Eddom should have been able
to use the designated walkway provided within the building,
but this was not possible as this walkway was
completely blocked by stored building
materials and equipment.

“The dangers associated with vehicle movements around
pedestrians are well-known in the industry.

“However, ECO Plastics failed to recognise the dangers the blocked walkway
had created or provide adequate control measures to ensure the
warehouse could be safely accessed by pedestrians
while construction work was underway.”

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