9 May 2016

Worker freed after more than nine hours!

A worker has been found after a racking collapse buried him under tons of shelving for more than nine hours.

The man amazingly escaped with a few minor injuries after emergency crews worked throughout Friday the 6th of May to free him from under the collapse.

Workers were seen running for their lives from the warehouse near Market Drayton at around 9.30am. After a head count it became clear that one employee, Tomasz Wiszniewski, was missing.

Thirteen fire departments were called to the warehouse, which stocked 20kg blocks of cheese. Although the building itself remained standing, the collapse left the walls of the warehouse bulging. Fire crews had to cut their way through the steel cladding to free Tomasz Wiszniewski. The forklift driver finally emerged from the devastated warehouse at around 5pm.

I'm sure that being trapped under a mountain of cheese would be a fair few of our versions of heaven (myself included), however racking collapses are extremely dangerous and in some cases (luckily not this one) life threatening. The chance of racking being hit by forklifts is high but reporting of collisions by drivers are low, because of this the need for frequent racking checks is critical.

Any slight weakness (caused by damage or wear and tear) in the foundations of pallet racking can cause it to progressively bend until it buckles under the weight. This will cause a domino effect pulling down other structurally solid racking with it.

By assuming your racking is safe you run the risk of a racking collapse and potentially the death to an employee, damage to plant, equipment and goods, downtime and lost hours, damaged morale and public image plus so much more

Any racking collapse, regardless of severity, has the potential to kill. Good to Go Safety are dedicated in there quest for a safer workplace, highlighting dangers and providing a means to avoid the devastating effects. Our Racking inspection checklist encourages load and structure to be checked identifying potentially dangerous/unreported racking collisions and saving lives in the process. Click here for more information

Of course it’s not just the racking that should be inspected but daily checks of the forklift are also essential – in this particular case it appears that the driver survived by staying inside the forklift cage which probably saved his life. Ensuring the structure of the forklift remains free from damage/weakness is just as important. From our experience forklift checks seem to be much higher up the chain of importance in comparison to racking (which is often overlooked when it comes to regular visual checks). It is only when we read stories such as this that the importance of a strict and comprehensive preventative maintenance regime is fully appreciated.

For more news on the Market Drayton collapse see BBC News Website

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