Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Aberdeen company fined after forklift truck runs over leg

Scotoil Services Ltd., of  Aberdeen firm was fined £5000 after a worker was injured when a forklift truck ran over his leg and foot.
The circumstances were:
  • There were operations at Scotoil where pedestrians and forklift trucks worked in the same area.
  • Scotoil failed to provide sufficient segregation between pedestrians and vehicles in this restricted zone.
  • It also failed to provide sufficient instructions to control vehicle movements in the area while pedestrians were working.
  • There was a similar incident a year earlier, in 2011, when a Scotoil employee was injured when he was struck by a forklift truck which was reversing within a building on the site. 
  • The HSE took enforcement action, requiring Scotoil to make improvements to the layout of the building so that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate safely within it.
  • On 17 August 2012, Derek Bonnar was one of four men working in two teams to pressure-wash components in two large wash bays.
  • Mr Bonnar was working alone cleaning down one of the bays when a colleague from the second team returned driving a forklift truck.
  • While the driver reversed the forklift and then moved forward to load components, Mr Bonnar was walking backwards while hosing down the next bay. 
  • The truck collided with Mr Bonnar, driving over his left leg and right foot.
  • Mr Bonnar suffered a broken leg and fractures to his foot.
  • He spent a week in hospital and a further seven weeks in a wheelchair. He has since returned to work.
  • Although Scotoil carried out its own investigation and made a number of recommendations, no changes were made to the system of work or the physical layout of the site.
  • When HSE visited six weeks after the incident, they issued a Prohibition Notice preventing the use of vehicles in the area until a safe system of work had been implemented so vehicles and pedestrians could work together safely.

The HSE Inspector said:
“Scotoil Services Ltd was aware of the need for vehicles to be working in this area at the same time as workers, but despite this it failed to put measures, such as walkways or marked transport routes, in place to prevent the risk of vehicles colliding with pedestrians. The company had taken action after the 2011 incident which went over and above that required by HSE’s improvement notice at the time. However, the risks in the controlled zone were not fully recognised and similar safety measures had not been installed. The dangers associated with vehicle movements around pedestrians are well-known. Every year there are over 5,000 incidents involving transport in the workplace. About 50 of these result in people being killed. This incident was entirely avoidable. Instead Mr Bonnar was left with a painful injury, and needed several months to recover.”

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