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Telehandler reverses over worker's leg

19 Oct 11 A worker suffered severe leg injuries when he was hit by a reversing telehandler vehicle at a waste transfer site near Exeter.

Andrew Grist, of Newton Abbot, suffered a detached calf muscle, a near severed toe and broken bones in his foot and was off work for six months after the incident at Kenbury Wood Waste Management Centre.

Leese's, the site operator, was fined £4,500 and ordered to pay £818 costs by Exeter magistrates today (18 October) following a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court heard that the telehandler was one of a number of similar vehicles working on the site. The telehandler had a blindspot because of its size, but there was no device, such as a reversing camera, fitted to the vehicle which could have prevented the incident. Site operators are required to ensure drivers of vehicles which might cause a risk of injury have all round visibility.

Mr Grist had got out of his vehicle on the site, believing he had received a "thumbs-up" signal from the operator of the machine emptying his lorry. He understood this to mean he could leave the site and get his lorry ready to go. It was at this point he was struck by the telehandler.

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HSE nspector, Simon Jones, speaking after the hearing, said: "This incident could easily have resulted in a fatality at the site. All employers should ensure that vehicles they provide for use by their employees do not have blind spots.

"Site operators should ensure that only vehicles that have had blind spots eliminated are allowed to operate on their site."

Leese's pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 28 (e) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

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