The circumstances were:
- Aspenlink's safety consultants had, on three consecutive years from 2010, advised them of the need to carry out a proper risk assessment and introduce a safe system of work for loading paper reels.
- Aspenlink failed to act on this advice.
- On 25 September 2013 an employee was helping to load the reel onto a container.
- He was actually in the container.
- He was hit by the reel after it was released by a forklift truck, trapping him between the reel and the bulkhead of the container.
- He sustained a double fracture to his pelvis, as well as internal injuries, remaining in hospital for almost a month. He has had to undergo a series of operations, and has only recently returned to work.
“This was an entirely avoidable incident. The dangers associated with paper reels, in particular the risks associated with their loading and unloading, are well-known in the industry and entirely foreseeable. Aspenlink was first made aware of the numerous shortcomings in its management of health and safety by its own health and safety consultant in 2010 – some three years before the incident – but it failed to act on this advice. The company should have carried out proper assessment of the risks facing workers. Instead, it waited for an employee to be seriously injured before taking any action.”