Company Fined After Worker’s Leg Crushed by Forklift Truck

A manufacturing company has been fined £600,000 after a worker’s leg was crushed by a forklift truck.

The man was working for Packaging Coatings Limited when the incident occurred at the firm’s Birmingham site in May 2018.

He had been walking across a pedestrian crossing at the site when a forklift truck, being driven by another worker, collided with him, crushing his leg and ankle. The driver did not slow down while approaching the pedestrian crossing and his vision was restricted as the forklift truck was carrying multiple intermediate bulk containers (IBCs).

The injured worker required surgery and skin grafts following the incident.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found Packaging Coatings Limited failed to provide an adequate risk assessment nor a safe system of work. There was also a lack of appropriate supervision. This led to the adoption and development of an unsafe custom and practice on site.

Packaging Coatings pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,188.60 at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on 3 April 2023.

This incident could so easily have been avoided with simple precautions:

  • The employer should have conducted a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and communicated it this to the workforce.
  • A traffic management plan put in place ensuring the segregation of pedestrians and vehicles.
  • Designated crossing points with signage and good visibility.
  • Where vision is obscured due to the size of the load the use of a banksman or even better reduce the size of the load.
  • Regular training and communication with the workforce so rules and procedures are known.
  • Good supervision within the business doing proactive monitoring so that potential issues are identified and rectified.

When working and interacting with vehicles, unfortunately, employees always come off second best. This is why it is so important that suitable controls are put in place and the safety message is reenforced, so complacency doesn’t set into the company. Training, polices, risk assessments and employee engagement leads to a positive safety culture and is shown to reduce accidents and incidents in the workplace.

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