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Suffolk company in court after worker suffers crush injuries

Date:
24 April 2014

A Suffolk firm which makes rubber granules has been fined for safety breaches after an agency worker was severely injured when the forklift truck he was driving overturned.

The 27-year-old, who does not wish to be named, was manoeuvring the vehicle with a clamp attachment in a raised position when it overturned and crushed him at Murfitts Industries Ltd’s site in Lakenheath.

The man suffered severe injuries and subsequently had to have his spleen removed so needs to be on permanent antibiotics. He has since returned to work at another company but still suffers pain.

The incident, on 27 September 2012, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which prosecuted the company today (24 April) at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard the injured worker – who was employed via an agency – had not received any formal training to drive the vehicle and was not wearing a seatbelt. The company had previously received enforcement action from HSE concerning its management of workplace transport, and as a result had provided training to their own staff but this had not extended to agency workers.

Murfitts Industries Ltd, of Station Road, Lakenheath, Suffolk, was fined £17,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,985 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Steven Gill, said:

“This injury could easily have been avoided had Murfitts Industries provided sufficient training and adequate supervision to make sure safety measures were in place, such as drivers wearing seatbelts.

“Forklift trucks can overturn if manoeuvres are not carried out correctly and such risks are well known in the industry.  That is why any driver using these vehicles must be provided with appropriate training. Murfitts knew the standard for training because they had provided it for their own staff, but failed to ensure that their agency workers were similarly trained when using the same equipment.”

For information about safe use of forklift trucks and vehicles at work, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/index.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 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Health and Safety states: “Every employer shall ensure that all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.”
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at press.hse.gov.uk

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