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Scrap metal firm fined after bus swings into employee

Date:
27 February 2013

A scrap metal firm has been fined after an employee was badly injured when a bus swung into him while it was being lifted onto a truck in Merthyr Tydfil.

Clifford Evans, 49 from Fochriw, Caerphilly, was momentarily pinned against a wall before the bus swung back again, and suffered fractures to his pelvis and ribs.

Abba Scrap Metals Ltd was today (27 Feb) prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at Penygarnddu Industrial Estate on 6 December 2011.

Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates heard today (27 February) that workers at the company had been loading a three-and-a-half tonne single-decker bus onto a low-loader truck, after salvaging parts from it, so that it could be taken to a scrap yard to be crushed.

They had planned to use an excavator to lift the front of the bus and a forklift truck to lift the rear, so that the low-loader could then reverse under it. As they lifted the front of the bus, using two chains attached to the grab on the excavator, it swung outwards and struck Mr Evans.

The court was told the work had been badly planned and none of the workers involved had received training on lifting vehicles using chains. The company should not have allowed a worker to stand in a position where he was at risk of being pinned against a wall by the bus.

Abba Scrap Metals, of address, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £8,912 in costs after admitting a breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Dean Baker said:

“Clifford Evans suffered painful fractures to his pelvis and ribs, but his injuries could easily have been more serious or even fatal.

“The bus could have been lifted by simply using the grab on the excavator, but the company overcomplicated it by using two vehicles and not positioning the chains safely.

“Had the work had been properly planned by Abba Scrap Metals, and had workers been given proper training on lifting vehicles, then the incident could have been avoided.”

Details on how to safely use excavators and other vehicles for lifting are available at www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery.

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 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that every lifting operation involving lifting equipment is properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised, and carried out in a safe manner.”

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