Firm Fined after 400kg Bale Falls on Worker

Firm Fined after 400kg Bale Falls on Worker

A 26-year-old man from Preston was almost killed after a 400kg bale of recycled plastic fell off a forklift truck onto him Preston Magistrates’ court heard.
The incident occurred on 18 August 2011 at the Preston Plastics Ltd’s plant on Lancaster Road in Out Rawcliffe when the plastic cube measuring a metre high was being moved.
The company were prosecuted yesterday by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) when they discovered that the firm failed to plan the lifting operations properly in order for the work to be carried out safely.
Preston Magistrates’ Court were informed that the man was hurt when the forklift truck driver lifted two bales from the stack in the warehouse. The driver did this by clamping hold of the bottom bale whilst the other one rested on the top.
The driver moved the bales when the top bale fell off and hit the worker who was sweeping up pieces of plastic. The bale hit the worker’s hands and head and he was thrown to the floor. He fractured his spine and then was required to wear a back brace until it healed.
The court heard that the HSE guidance advises against lifting two heavy items with one resting on top of another with a forklift truck because of several deaths caused by toppling loads. Preston Plactic’s Ltd did not plan the work properly in advance to avoid this dangerous situation.
Preston Plastics Ltd of Pittman Way in Fulwood Preston pleaded guilty to breaching the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. The company received fines of £10000 and were ordered to pay £4533 in prosecution costs.
Following the hearing HSE Inspector Rohan Lye said:
“The firm had a legal duty to make sure the work was properly planned supervised and carried out safely but it failed to do any of this. What’s worse is that the forklift truck was regularly used to lift two bales at once making it almost inevitable that someone would be injured.
“The company has since changed its working practices so that the forklift truck is now only used to lift one bale at time. If that procedure had been in place at the time of the incident then the worker’s injuries could have been avoided.”
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