Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Incorrect lifting gear causes foot fracture and £23,600 fine

Frank H Dale Ltd, a Herefordshire steelwork company was fined £23,631 (inc. costs) on 15 July 2014 after an employee was hurt when a metal sheet fell on his foot.
The circumstances were:
  • On 3 October 2012, an employee was moving 6 sheets, each 6m x 0.35m x 10mm thick and weighing 180kg.
  • The operation required a movement of about 10m and 1.5m off the ground.
  • He was using an overhead crane with a lifting magnet.
  • The magnet manufacturer's instructions were not followed and the magnet was unsuitable for long sheets.
  • Whilst moving one of the sheets, it detached from the magnet, bounced off the conveyor and landed on the employee’s foot. 
  • He fractured three toes and was off work for six weeks

The HSE inspector said:
“Permanent lifting magnets are a common accessory in industry and must be used correctly. Users need to understand the limitations of the ones they have in use. This incident could easily have been avoided had the company provided suitable training. Most permanent lifting magnets are supplied with comprehensive instructions and companies must ensure users understand them and are trained in their use – many suppliers of this equipment may provide training. Although the steel sheet was within the safe working load for the magnet being used at the time, it was not designed to lift long, thin pieces of sheet metal. It was nothing more than luck that the first two sheets were successfully moved and the injured employee was very fortunate that the 180kg metal sheet fell on to a conveyor before landing on his foot. Had it landed on him directly then a more serious injury may have been inflicted.”

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