An Essex manufacturing company has been sentenced for safety failings after a forklift truck reversed into a delivery driver’s lower leg, fracturing his ankle.
The 44-year-old was struck by the truck as he stepped from the rear of his lorry after helping the forklift operator reach a pallet from inside the vehicle at LP Foreman & Sons Ltd in Chelmsford on 19 August 2013.
The worker suffered a serious fracture of his left ankle, severe damage to tendons and a large fracture blister that covered his lower leg. He returned on light duties in November 2013 and was able to resume as a driver in January this year.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought a prosecution against the company at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court, which heard on 1 April that it had become common practice for van drivers to instruct forklift truck operators where to place loads within their vehicles for ease of delivery.
The HSE found that even though this brought drivers directly into the area of the yard where forklift trucks were operating, no effective procedures had been established or training provided to ensure that workers on foot and moving vehicles were kept safely apart.
LP Foreman & Sons Ltd was fined a total of £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £621 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
After the case, HSE Inspector Paul Grover, said: “This was an entirely preventable injury caused by LP Foreman & Sons’ failure to recognise the hazards arising from loading operations at their premises”.
“Our investigation found that there was an absence of effective systems of control which were sufficiently robust to allow workplace transport and pedestrians to circulate the site in safety”.
Employers seeking clarification or guidance on their health and safety responsibilities or facing prosecution can find out more by visiting the Palmers website or contact our health and safety specialists Lara Murray and Jeremy Sirrell.