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Firm fined after worker hit on head by falling skip

Date:
10 September 2013

A Newcastle-based skip hire firm has been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered serious head injuries when he was struck by a falling skip.

The 45-year-old from Annitsford, Cramlington, who does not want to be named, has still not returned to work following the incident at N A Park Ltd in Brunswick Village on 20 December 2010.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard today (10 September) that on the day of the incident the worker was sorting through waste when it was noted that skips were covered in frost so the contents were likely to be frozen.

A wagon driver moved a skip into a building to be emptied and sorted, but was unable to empty the frozen load. The skip was unloaded from the wagon and left in the building.

Another colleague then used a shovel loader to turn the skip upside down in order to release the frozen waste. However, as he turned the empty skip back to its upright position, the grab of the shovel, which was gripping the edge of the skip, opened and the skip fell, hitting the worker on the head.

He was taken to hospital for treatment with serious head injuries and is still unable to work.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the shovel loader did not have suitable equipment fitted to undertake lifting operations and should not have been used to move the skip.

N A Park Ltd, of Brunswick Industrial Estate, Brunswick Village, Newcastle, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Woodhall, said:

"This was a wholly avoidable incident that resulted in serious injury. It could have been prevented if N A Park Ltd had provided suitable work equipment for lifting and turning waste skips.

"Employers are required to ensure that all work equipment is used only for operations and under conditions for which it is suitable.

"Anyone with responsibility for equipment should ensure that they are aware of what it is actually being used for, and when tasks are required to be carried out they should provide the correct equipment for that job."

Workplace transport incidents are one of the most common causes of deaths and serious injury in the waste management industry, and a significant number relate to lifting operations. For more information and advice visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/skiphire.htm

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 4(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: "Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is used only for operations for which, and under conditions for which, it is suitable."

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