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Firm fined £5,000 after half-tonne car crushes worker

By Kyle Lindsay
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 11:30

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GUILTY: Firm fined for safety failings

A Stalybridge vehicle salvage firm has been fined £5,000 for multiple safety failings after a half-tonne car fell from a forklift and crushed a mechanic.

The 22-year-old man, from Ashton-under-Lyne, was left wearing a spinal brace for three months following the September 2012 incident, which saw him break bones in his back and ribs.

He also suffered a partially-collapsed lung and fractured his pelvis.

North End Salvage Services Ltd, of Manchester, were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the forklift that the car fell from had numerous faults and had not been serviced.

Faults included the lifting chains being in a dangerous condition due to rust, stiff links and missing parts.

There was also a low level of hydraulic oil in the tank, the handbrake and horn did not work, one of the tyres was badly damaged, and there was no seatbelt.

Investigators also discovered that the employee had been allowed to climb under the car while it was being lifted to drain the fuel tank.

“It’s shocking that the firm allowed multiple faults to develop on the forklift, any one of which should have been a reason to take it out of use.”

Lorna Sherlock, HSE

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard the company had a purpose-built frame to use for emptying fuel tanks before vehicles were crushed, which had been ignored.

North End Salvage Services Ltd pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

The company were fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in prosecution costs.

Lorna Sherlock, Inspector at the HSE, said: “A young employee suffered severe injuries which are likely to affect him for the rest of his life because of numerous health and safety failings by North End Salvage Services.

“The company had equipment which could have been used to drain the fuel tank safely but instead it allowed a worker to stand under the vehicle while it was being lifted by a forklift truck.

“It’s shocking that the firm allowed multiple faults to develop on the forklift, any one of which should have been a reason to take it out of use.

“Instead, it continued to be operated and an employee was badly injured as a result.”

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