Friday, 4 July 2014

Poor non-standard work operation results in falls from 2 forklift truck cages

Eurokey Recycling Ltd., a Leicestershire recycling company, was fined nearly £11,000 (inc. costs) on 3 July 2014 after non-standard work resulted in falls from cages on forklift trucks.
The circumstances were:
  • Richard Norton and Craig Dunn were contractors engaged to carry out work on a faulty roller shutter door on 21 February 2013.
  • Eurokey had provided two forklift trucks, each with a caged container balanced on the prongs of the truck.
  • The cages did not have fork ‘pockets’ to secure them to the trucks and were not strapped to the forklift. 
  • Neither of the men realised the containers were not man-cages designed to lift people, but were for goods transport.
  • They were raised 3m and removed the roller shutter which was then balanced between the two cages. 
  • When the cages were lowered, the descent speeds were different, which caused the load to destabilise and the cages to fall to the floor. .
  • Mr Norton broke his right wrist and was off work for five months. Mr Dunn suffered several torn muscles in his back and was unable to work for 12 weeks.

The HSE inspector said:
“The system of work employed for the work activity was totally inappropriate and posed an obvious risk to the safety of the people being lifted. People should never be lifted on a pallet or similar container, balanced on the forks of a lift truck because they can easily fall off. Non-integrated working platforms, such as man-cages, may only be used in exceptional circumstances for occasional unplanned use. Examples might be maintenance tasks where it would be impracticable to hire-in purpose-built access equipment. That was not the case here.”

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