Firm fined £17,000 after worker suffers crush injuries

Friday, May 2, 2014 - 11:30
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BREACH: Murfitts Industries fined

A Suffolk firm have been fined £17,000 for safety breaches after an agency worker was severely injured when the forklift he was driving overturned.

The 27-year-old, who does not wish to be named, was manoeuvring the vehicle with a clamp attachment in a raised position when it overturned and crushed him at Murfitts Industries’ Lakenheath site in September 2012.

The man suffered severe injuries and subsequently had to have his spleen removed – meaning he is on permanent antibiotics.

He has since returned to work at another company but still suffers pain.

“This injury could easily have been avoided had Murfitts Industries provided sufficient training and adequate supervision.”

Steven Gill, HSE

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who prosecuted the company last week at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard the injured worker – who was employed via an agency – had not received any formal training to drive the vehicle and was not wearing a seatbelt.

Murfitts Industries had previously received enforcement action from HSE concerning their management of workplace transport, and as a result had provided training to their own staff.

However, this had not extended to agency workers.

Murfitts Industries, of Station Road, Lakenheath, Suffolk, were fined £17,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,985 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Steven Gill, Inspector at the HSE, said: “This injury could easily have been avoided had Murfitts Industries provided sufficient training and adequate supervision to make sure safety measures were in place, such as drivers wearing seatbelts.

“Forklift trucks can overturn if manoeuvres are not carried out correctly and such risks are well-known in the industry.

“That is why any driver using these vehicles must be provided with appropriate training.

“Murfitts knew the standard for training because they had provided it for their own staff, but failed to ensure that their agency workers were similarly trained when using the same equipment.”

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