Devon firm fined £33,000 after man seriously injured by unsafe telehandler

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 12:00
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FINED: Telehandler similar to above struck man

A company have been fined £33,000, plus costs, after an unsafe reversing telehandler seriously injured a man at an Exeter recycling centre.

Marvon Van Rijk, a worker at Leases Limited’s Matford Business Park site, suffered life-threatening leg injuries after being struck by the vehicle while sorting through recycling waste.

He required immediate emergency surgery and ongoing surgical treatment.

Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday that Leases Limited hired the vehicle in September 2012, but did not have it fitted with a reversing camera.

This failure to ensure that the driver’s direct field of vision was adequate seriously compromised safety, investigators from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claimed.

The company, who were prosecuted following an almost identical incident at the same site in October 2011, were fined £33,000 and ordered to pay £13,389 in costs.

Simon Jones, Inspector at the HSE, said: “Marvon Van Rijk was hit by the reversing telehandler while he was in the blind spot of the vehicle.

“Leases Limited failed to ensure that all vehicles on their sites had their blind spots eliminated and Mr Van Rijk suffered serious and life-changing injuries as a result.

“The telehandler, a large and powerful machine, was operating in close proximity to workers sorting through recycling waste.

“Despite having a known blind spot, the telehandler had to undertake numerous reversing manoeuvres and it was only a matter of time before it hit one of the workers.

“The dangers of blind spots on reversing vehicles are well known within the waste and recycling industries.

“The easiest way to eliminate such blind spots is to install reversing CCTV which is easy and inexpensive to fit.

“It is regrettable that Leases Limited did not learn the lessons from an almost identical incident and subsequent prosecution by HSE at the same site just 20months ago.”

Image courtesy of Joost J. Bakker, with thanks.

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