Monday, 28 April 2014

Sweet manufacturer fined nearly £130,000 for forklift truck accident.

Tangerine Confectionery Ltd., of Blackpool were fined £129,538 (inc.costs) on 28 April 2014 after a forklift truck pierced a worker's foot.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred in a warehouse.
  • The area was overcrowded with pallets from two other warehouses while maintenance work was being carried out.
  • This restricted the space drivers had to operate vehicles and increased the flow of traffic.
  • There was a doorway with plastic curtains, designed to keep out insects and birds, but these obscured the view.
  • The injured person, Kevin Lowe, had been involved in an earlier collision in this entrance, suffering minor bruising, 
  • On 19 September 2012, Mr Lowe was driving a ride-on pallet truck.
  • Because of a lack of space inside, he was manoeuvring the vehicle very close to the entrance.
  • Another worker drove through the plastic strip curtains that hung down over the entrance. 
  • The two vehicles collided.
  • The fork on the truck pierced his foot, entering the instep and exiting the bridge, breaking every bone in its path.
  • There was a third collision a couple of days after the September incident. 
  • On all of these occasions, restricted vision through the curtains was given as a cause by the drivers involved.
  • The company has since removed the plastic curtains and changed its systems so vehicles and pedestrians can move safely around the site

The HSE Inspector said:
“Mr Lowe has suffered a horrific injury that will affect him for life because Tangerine Confectionery failed to implement effective traffic management at its Vicarage Lane warehouse. “The company introduced physical hazards onto route ways without assessing their effects, and the result can best be described as chaotic. The fact that there were three collisions in just three months in the same spot shows this wasn’t just a one off incident but something that was almost inevitable. “Employees had raised concerns about restricted vision when driving through the plastic curtains and the overcrowding in the area, but the management team ignored these concerns. “The company has since made changes to the layout of the warehouse and systems of work including the installation of proximity alarms, clearly marked traffic routes, better supervision and a new dispatch system. If these had been in place at the time of the incident then the injuries suffered by Mr Lowe could have been avoided.”

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