Friday, 30 January 2015

2 companies fined a total of over £32,000 after employee was injured by unsafe use of a forklift truck

New Earth Solutions Group Ltd, was fined £15,241 (inc. costs) and NEAT Technology Group Ltd fined £17,241 (inc. costs) after an employee was injured during an unsafe operation using a forklift truck. Both companies are based at the same address in Verwood, Dorset.
The circumstances were:
  • New Earth Solutions Group Ltd, which runs a mechanical biological treatment facility at Avonmouth, had commissioned an energy recovery facility next to the site.
  • During the design, build and commissioning phases, the new facility was under the control of NEAT Technology Group Ltd. 
  • Neither company assessed the risks associated with unblocking vacuum filters 
  • Nor did they identify a safe system of work using appropriate equipment to unblock the machine. 
  • Both companies also failed to sufficiently train and instruct workers to unblock the filters safely and did not monitor or supervise the process.
  • An employee was tasked with helping empty ash, a by-product of the thermal treatment process, from steel barrels using a specialist vacuum machine.
  • During the process, one of his colleagues used a fork lift truck to shake the vacuum to dislodge any remaining ash deposits from the filters.
  • It came off the forks of the truck, overturned and struck the cleaner, trapping him underneath.
  • He suffered a fractured back and two fractured ribs, and was unable to return to work for seven months.

The HSE Inspector said:
“This incident highlights the importance of effectively controlling the risks associated with all work processes. This did not occur in this case, and the consequences could have been far more serious. This incident could have easily been avoided and the injured cleaner would not have been injured had both companies planned this work properly and provided with appropriate training and supervision.”

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