A young worker suffered severe injuries and is still unable to return to work one year after he was struck by a metal frame due to his employer’s negligence to put safety measures and supervision in place.
When workers based at a Cumbrian engineering firm attempted to lift and rotate a frame weighing nearly two tonnes, the partially-constructed trailer chassis had suddenly rotated out of control while being raised. The 21 year old employee, who was not involved in the lifting operation, was walking across the factory floor when he was hit by the uncontrolled chassis, which swung out in his direction.
As a result, the young man received multiple cuts and fractures to his left foot and leg, and twelve months on still has a difficulty in walking normally.
Following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation, it was found that that the company had failed to properly plan for a ‘complicated’ lifting operation, which required the use of two forklift trucks.
It was also found that measures had not been put into place to prevent other workers from being kept at a safe distance nor was there a supervisor in attendance who would be responsible for ensuring worker safety and compliance with regulations.
At the subsequent court hearing, the engineering firm was fined a total of £12,500 including costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.
After the fine was handed out, a spokesman for the HSE commented that the workers “had no way of knowing his life was being put at risk as he walked across the factory floor, and the injury suffered could easily have been avoided.”
“The firm had failed in their legal responsibility ... and the case should act as a warning... that they risk the safety of their employees if they ignore the law, and could find themselves in court as a result.”