Inadequate Safety Measures Results in Employer Fine, Worker Injury

 

Fines Total $34,700
 
A Welsh employee suffered leg injuries when a reversing forklift truck struck him while working at a cardboard factory, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
 
Michael Jones, of Abercarn, was inspecting production in an area of the factory at the Prince of Wales Industrial Estate, Abercarn, Caerphilly when the incident happened in April of 2011.
 
Jones' employer, Smurfit Kappa, was recently fined a total of $12,500 and ordered to pay $22,200 in fines by Caerphilly Magistrates in a prosecution brought by the HSE in November of this year.
 
 
Inadequate Measures in Place for Safety
 
The court was told that the forklift truck was reversing around a storage area to drop off an empty pallet when it struck Jones, who was carrying out routine work on stock in the area. Although the forklift was travelling at a slow speed, Jones suffered a broken ankle and fractured heel and subsequently developed deep vein thrombosis.
 
An investigation by the HSE revealed that the forklift was fitted with reversing alarms, but these were not audible over the noise in the production area. No other safety measures were used, such as mirrors or flashing lights on the vehicles.
 
Although the company had a transport policy, they had not adequately assessed the risk to all pedestrians and there were inadequate measures in place to separate pedestrians from forklift vehicles in the production area.
 
Despite the transport policy highlighting the need for other safety devices such as mirrors, these were not fitted to the vehicles.
 
 
Employer Pleaded Guilty
 
According to HSE Inspector, Dean Baker, "Employers must ensure that they assess the movement of vehicles and where possible segregate pedestrians to eliminate the risk. If this is not possible, measures such as audible reversing alarms, mirrors, flashing lights and clearly marked pedestrian zones should be considered to prevent future injuries and fatalities."
 
Smurfit Kappa Corrugated UK Ltd of Darlington Road, West Auckland, County Durham pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
 
 
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.comContact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.
 
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

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