5 Apr 2012

Worker's leg amputated following forklift incident

A Cardiff-based cargo company has been fined after a lorry driver had part of his leg amputated after being struck by a reversing forklift truck.

Robert Deverell, from Risca in Caerphilly was at the Cardiff Docks premises of Cargo Services (UK) Limited, as his lorry was being loaded with 18m steel beams by a forklift truck owned and operated by the company.

Cardiff Crown Court heard while Mr Deverell was waiting for the last of the beams to be loaded on to his lorry he began to approach the forklift truck.

As he arrived at its side, the forklift reversed, striking Mr. Deverell and running over his right leg which later had to be amputated below the knee. He also suffered a fractured wrist in the incident and has been unable to return to work at his employers, Dyfed Steels Ltd in Llanelli.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the 18 June 2010 incident found insufficient segregation procedures to keep visiting drivers away from operating forklift trucks.

It also found that the forklift truck had a defective reversing alarm and horn, and maintenance records showed the horn defect had been a recurring fault over four years.

Cargo Services (UK) Limited of Cold Stores Road, Queen Alexandra Dock, Cardiff, was today found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay costs of £60,246.18.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Hugh Emment said:

"This incident highlights the importance of keeping people away from operated forklift trucks. Unfortunately workplace transport incidents are all too common and here you had a forklift truck moving only a short distance at slow speed but still causing a very serious injury.

"Employers should ensure that they have a robust safe system of work to ensure pedestrians, including visiting drivers, are kept at a safe distance from forklift trucks that are being operated."

HSE Bulletin No: 4_April_2012 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

It is inexcusable that a recurring fault had been found on the forklift's reversing alarm and horn, but had not been repaired. The FLT inspection system from Good to Go Safety would provide a clear visual indication, to potential drivers, of the trucks status - a daily checklist would encourage a check of the basic components (including alarms and horns), and when the fault was found a Do Not Use message would be clearly displayed until such time that the problem was rectified. This simple but affordable tagging and inspection system could have saved this man's leg for the cost of just a few pounds. 

If you are responsible for forklift safety in your organisation I'd be delighted to hear from you to discuss how we can help. In the meantime why not visit our website at www.goodtogosafety.co.uk for more information. Don't let another incident like this happen on your watch.

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