20 January, 2020
An employee was seriously injured when a forklift truck struck him in November 2017. It has been reported that as he was walking across the depot, a reversing forklift truck hit him. He was trapped under the vehicle and suffered serious fractures to his arm and soft tissue injuries to his legs.
The HSE carried out an investigation and found there was "inadequate segregation of forklift trucks and pedestrians within the workplace". Although a risk assessment had been carried out, it had not identified the importance of strict segregation in an area where forklift trucks operated.
Fedex UK Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £533,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,033.39.
According to HSE figures (www.hse.gov.uk/statistics), every year, there are over 5000 accidents involving transport in the workplace. About 50 of these result in people being killed.
Employers must ensure that they carry out detailed and adequate risk assessments. The risk assessments should consider how to ensure vehicles and people are segregated to avoid accidents. Where complete segregation is not possible, pedestrian and traffic routes should be clearly marked and signposted.
Further guidance can be found in the HSE's brief guide to Workplace Transport Safety, which can be found here.
A driver fell from a trailer to the ground when he was loading grain bags on to a curtain-sided trailer. He fell 2.88 metres to the ground and sustained severe injuries as a result of the fall.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that there was "a failure to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment" and "a failure to provide and maintain a safe system of work".
W D Cormack & Sons pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £8,000
Following the hearing, the HSE inspector commented that the incident could have been avoided by implementing measures such as load securing systems, which would have allowed the driver to secure loads from the ground. Employers are expected to reduce the level of risk to employees to the lowest possible level. Risk assessments should be used to help employees identify possible risks and solutions to avoid or minimise the risk. Where systems are available such as in this instance, which would serve to further reduce the level of risk then employers, will be expected to put such measures into action.
The HSE carried out a number of inspections at a construction site in London, following which the site manager and company director was served with two Prohibition Notices and his company, was served with two Prohibition Notices and two Improvement Notices. The Improvement Notice for competent advice was not complied with.
The Company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015; and Section 21 of The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was ordered to pay a fine of £60,000 plus a surcharge of £170 and full costs of £5216.46
The Director also pleaded guilty to breaching Section 21 of The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to 18 weeks' imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 180 hours of unpaid work, and was ordered to pay a surcharge of £115, and full costs of £5060.69.
Improvement Notices are used when a HSE inspector is of the opinion that a person is contravening a statutory provision; or has contravened a provision in circumstances that make it likely that the contravention will continue or be repeated. When an Improvement Notice is served, the person will be required to remedy the contravention within a specified period. Improvement and Prohibition Notices must be complied with. The level of the fine and the sentence in this case reflects the seriousness of the failure to comply with the Improvement Notice. The prosecution demonstrates that the HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall foul of health and safety legislation.