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Materials group SIG fined £36k fine for fork lift accident

23 Aug 11 A Livingston-based construction supply company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when he was run over twice by a forklift truck.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard that a SIG Trading Ltd forklift driver was moving a large metal coil inside the company's warehouse on Houston Industrial Estate.

The metal coil was loaded onto the truck and, as the forks were in the raised position, the driver's vision was restricted. The driver was unaware that two other employees were in the warehouse. As he drove the truck forward two or three metres, he became aware of a colleague shouting and indicating to him to reverse.

Unaware that he had already hit one of the workers, knocking him to the ground and running over his right leg, he then reversed the truck over the same leg again.

The injured man needed major surgery after the 31 March 2010 incident, including six pins and two steel plates in his shin, and screws in his ankle and toes.  He is left with a permanent limp, scarring and constant pain.

The warehouse was shared by SIG Trading Limited and a subsidiary company based on the same site. A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that no arrangements were in place in the warehouse to keep pedestrians and vehicles apart. Vehicles from both companies moved freely around that part of the site.

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HSE found that employees had not received training on transport issues, and no consideration had been given to operational restrictions caused by the use of the type of forklift truck for which employees had not had refresher retraining. Simple measures like issuing high-visibility garments for use in the warehouse had not been carried out.

HSE inspector Matthew Ramsey said: "In 2009/10, more than 1,700 people were injured in transport incidents in the workplace. These kind of incidents are easily preventable, and simple, low cost measures can be put in place to prevent them occurring.

"This incident was entirely foreseeable. The company failed to carry out a risk assessment for the movement of vehicles and segregation of pedestrians from traffic or put in place a workplace transport plan. Coupled with the lack of training and poor work practices this led to the serious injuries sustained by the employee.

"After the incident, corrective measures including barriers, walkways and high-visibility garments were put in place and employees received training.  The total cost of these simple measures was less than £4,500 but unfortunately they came too late for the injured man in this case."

At Livingston Sheriff Court today (22 August 2011) SIG Trading Limited, of Hillsborough Works, Langsett Road,Sheffield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and was fined £36,000.

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