Failure to install adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving vehicles at a Lancashire recycling site led to a worker suffering serious injuries after being run over by a 7.5 tonne forklift crane.
The 44 year old employee was walking across a plastics sorting area behind the stationary plant vehicle when it began to reverse. The worker was knocked to the ground then run over by the rear wheel, which caused a fractured pelvis on both sides and a ruptured bladder needing two months treatment in hospital. The employee still suffers severe mobility problems and is unlikely to be able to return to work in the foreseeable future
At the subsequent hearing, the court heard that the company had “identified the risks but had failed to put in place suitable controls to prevent people being hit by vehicles”. The recycling company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £200,000 with £11,998 costs.
Employers need to make separate pedestrian routes
An inspector for the Health and Safety Executive said after the hearing: “Employers need to look carefully at their workplaces regularly to make sure that pedestrian routes are clearly marked and physically separated from vehicle routes wherever possible”.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 states: "Every workplace shall be organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate in a safe manner." Effective ways to keep vehicles separate from pedestrian areas also include raised kerbs to mark vehicle and pedestrian areas and suitable protective barriers or guard rails, particularly at the entrances and exits to buildings.
Around 1,500 people are seriously injured every year as a result of an accident involving a workplace vehicle. Many of these accidents occur during deliveries and collections, according to the Health and Safety Executive, 2013/14.