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Transport Firm Prosecuted After Worker Crushed By Crate

An Ipswich-based transport company has been fined after a crate fell on one of its employees, trapping him against a container.

The incident occurred in April 2013. The employee was working as a warehouse foreman, and had only joined the company in that capacity three weeks earlier. He and another worker were unloading two tonne containers containing crates of glass mirrors.

The second of the two containers had no forklift pockets or any interior lighting. The foreman therefore had to get very close to the container in order to guide the forklift truck operator properly. During this process, some of the crates became jammed in the container. As the truck operator tried to dislodge them, one of the crates suddenly fell out on top of the foreman, trapping him against the side of the container.


The injuries suffered by the worker are life-changing, and it is estimated that it will be at least three years before he is able to work again.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court fined Portmans Transport Limited, of Bryon Avenue, Felixstowe, a total of £9,000. The firm was also ordered to pay £917 in costs. It was found guilty of an offence under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Corinne Godfrey stated:

“This worker was employed by the company for less than three weeks as a Warehouse Foreman, and although he had previous job experience which involved the maintenance and repair of containers, he had never been involved with this type of unloading work known as ‘devanning’.

This incident was inevitable, neither worker had seen the procedures manual or any risk assessments/method statements relating to the unloading of containers.

The company failed to plan what should happen when it was identified that loads were not able to be readily offloaded by forklift truck.

It’s essential that before any work tasks are carried out, the relevant risks should be identified and appropriate control measures put in place to protect against them.”

If you have been affected by a serious accident at work, our expert Accident and Catastrophic Injuries teams are here to help. Get in touch today on on 0800 888 6888 or email

Source: Health & Safety Executive

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