Michael Ellerby / Feature Articles

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Health and Safety – Separate people from vehicles

A Paper Mill (PM) has been fined following serious injury to one of its employees, who suffered several fractures to his leg and foot.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concluded that it could have been avoided if simple safety precautions had been taken.

The court heard that the man was in an aisle in the warehouse taking tickets off pallets that were filled with paper goods. The pallets were then to be put on racks at either side of the aisle. A colleague was using a forklift truck in the same aisle. He reversed and backed into the worker, crushing him between the truck and a pallet. The man suffered three breaks in his right ankle as well as two fractures to his left leg. He has been able to return to work at the firm on light duties.

PM was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,069 in costs after admitting a breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

After the case, a HSE Inspector said:

“The incident was entirely preventable. PM failed to make sure that there was a safe vehicle and pedestrian system of work in place within their warehouse. Such a measure would have prevented vehicles being able to access areas where workers on foot were moving around. Such a system was entirely possible without any detriment to the work being done.”

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