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Nottingham timber firm in court over worker’s injuries

Date:
1 August 2014

A timber company has been fined after an employee was run over by a forklift truck.

Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard that James Abrahams was walking alongside the forklift to steady a pallet of fencing being transported at Jon Walker Timber Product Ltd’s yard at Mansfield Lane, Calverton, when the incident happened on 30 July 2012.

He suffered leg fractures, broken and dislocated toes and deep grazing.

Mr Abrahams, 21, of Calverton was hospitalised for 12 days and unable to work for a number of months. He has not returned to the company.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found a number of failings at the company.

There was no safe system of work for transporting pallets through the yard. A risk assessment was not carried out and employees had not been provided with adequate training, information or instruction. Pedestrians and vehicles should not have been working in such close proximity.

The forklift driver’s licence had expired four months prior to the incident and forklifts were operated by other unlicensed drivers.

The court heard that the firm had been issued with an Improvement Notice in 2001 for a lack of risk assessments, and written advice had previously been given by HSE on workplace transport issues, including forklift driver training.

Jon Walker Timber Products Ltd, of Bonington Road, Mapperley, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £9,850 costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Samantha Farrar said:

“This incident could so easily have resulted in a fatality and was entirely preventable.

“It had become the usual procedure, when pallets were leaning or unstable, for employees to walk alongside forklift trucks to hold the loads steady. It was this unsafe practice that led to serious injury.

“Vehicles at work are a major cause of fatal and severe injuries with more than 5,000 incidents involving workplace transport every year. Providing a safe system of work based upon the findings of a suitable risk assessment and adequately training, informing and instructing of staff makes incidents such as this significantly less likely.”

Further information about workplace transport is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce 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. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
  3. Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: “Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work.”
  4. HSE news releases are available at press.hse.gov.uk

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