A Forfar metal galvanising company has appeared in court over serious leg injuries sustained by an agency worker when a half-tonne A-frame slipped and fell onto him from a forklift truck.
Robert Ramsey had been helping colleagues move the large A-frame, which measured 3.82 metres by 1.6 metres and weighed almost half a tonne.
The A-frame was lifted and moved outside, where it was raining, on the forks of a forklift truck. It was then turned and was being moved into the correct position with Mr Ramsey and another colleague on opposite sides of the A-frame to steady it.
However, the A-frame was not secured to the forks and it began to slip. The forklift driver shouted repeated warnings, and although his colleague heeded them moving out of the way, Mr Ramsey took hold of the A-frame to steady it, but it continued to slip and fell onto him.
Mr Ramsey suffered serious injuries to his legs including bruised bones, trapped nerves, muscle and tissue damage as well as severe swelling and external bruising. He was off work for several months and could only walk short distances. Fortunately, he has now made a full recovery
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the company did not have in place a safe system of work for the task. The company had developed a procedure for moving ungainly loads following a similar incident in 2007, but this had not been implemented.
It was fined £7,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
“Around a quarter of all workplace transport incidents involve forklift trucks, with 50% of these happening because someone is hit either by the vehicle or a falling load,” commented HSE Principal Inspector Niall Miller.
“It was clear there was a risk of death or serious injury if the A-frame fell from the forklift truck, particularly as the company was aware of previous incidents of loads falling,” he added. “Had the company acted on this and the advice of HSE, Mr Ramsey would not have been injured.”
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