A Staffordshire logistics company has been prosecuted after two employees were injured in separate accident at work incidents within two days of each other.
Two accident at work incidents in two days
In the first accident at work incident, a 39 year old worker was struck by a forklift truck (FLT) at the Oxford Mini plant. He sustained crush injuries to his left foot. The incident occurred on 6 October 2014.
The second accident at work incident took place the following day and involved a 55 year old operations manager. The worker was pinned to the ground by a large metal box as he was walking along a marked pedestrian walkway. Oxford Crown Court heard how the metal box fell and struck the worker after it fell from the forks of a truck. He suffered serious injuries including internal bleeding and punctured lungs. He also suffered a fractured pelvis.
Health & Safety Executive investigation
An investigation into the first accident at work incident found the risk assessments in place were poor. Furthermore, the investigation found that FLT operators, and their supervisors, were not correctly trained.
HSE’s investigation into the second accident at work incident found the segregation of pedestrians and vehicles was insufficient.
Sentencing & fines
Rudolph & Hellmann Automotive Limited, of Sandford Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £265,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,943.30.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Kelly Nichols said:
“It is vital that drivers are competent and have received appropriate information, instruction and training. Sites should be well-designed and maintained with suitable segregation of vehicles and people in order to minimise the risk of workplace transport accidents.
“The risks from workplace transport in warehouses and the required control measures to manage those risks are well known and publicised in HSE publications. It is really disappointing to find Rudolph & Hellmann Automotive Limited (RHA) failing to manage and control the risks associated with the lifting and movement of vehicles and goods in a busy workplace.
“Sadly, in this case, the prosecution shows that RHA’s management of FLT driving operations and risk control measures failed which exposed employees to danger from falling loads and from being struck by a vehicle. These serious injuries were preventable.”
Accident at work – expert advice
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Source: Health & Safety Executive