Monday, 2 March 2015

Unsafe delivery and unloading operation causes loss of leg.

Vincent Sutton, a Tameside factory worker had to have part of his left leg amputated after he was struck by an 850kg metal frame being delivered to a plant in Glossop. 
Russell Fabrications was fined £36.651 (inc.costs) and Delpro fined £20,735 (inc.costs).
The circumstances were:

  • Russell Fabrications (UK) Ltd., had manufactured a 5m long fabrication called a skid for Delpro Ltd.
  • Neither company had adequately planned how they were going to deliver and unload this.
  • The skid was loaded onto a pickup truck at an angle using an overhead crane and chains, with the top end resting on a supporting bar above the driver’s cab.
  • When the skid arrived at the Delpro plant, workers lifted it off the truck using the same chains, this time attached to a forklift truck. 
  • The chains consisted of two separate sets, one of which was significantly shorter than the other to allow for the angle of the lift.
  • As they lifted the frame, the shorter chains – attached to the higher side – forced their way out from the hook on the forklift truck. 
  • The frame fell around two metres to the ground and landed on Mr Sutton’s left foot.
  • The damage was so severe that his leg eventually had to be amputated to above the knee for medical reasons.
The HSE Inspector said:
“The failings of both companies contributed to this incident, which could so easily have been avoided had more thought gone into the planning of the loading, unloading and transport of the metal frame. The methods adopted for both the loading at Russell Fabrications (UK) Ltd and the unloading at Delpro Ltd were inherently unsafe and the vehicle used to transport the frame was unsuitable as the loading area was too small to safely accommodate it. Unfortunately the failings of the two companies have led to a worker suffering life changing and permanently disabling injuries.”

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