A Suffolk company has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive after an employee was injured in a workplace accident while operating a forklift truck.
The unnamed 27-year-old temporary agency worker was brought in by Murfitts Industries in Lakenheath to help move objects around the factory floor. The company makes rubber granules for industrial usage.
Forklift Truck Accident
Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court heard that the man was maneuvering the forklift truck with a clamp attachment in a raised position, when the truck overturned and crushed him under its weight.
The anonymous employee was rushed to hospital with severe injuries and has since had to have his spleen removed because of the extent of the damage done to his internal organs. This means he is now permanently on antibiotics.
While the man has since returned to work at another company, he still suffers from constant pain and the removal of his spleen has left him at risk of a number of diseases.
Health and Safety Executive
After hearing about the work accident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation to establish whether the fault was with the driver or Murfitts Industries.
It emerged in Court that the injured employee had never been formally trained on how to use a forklift truck and was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, meaning he was at constant risk of harm while he used the forklift truck.
Further to this, it was later found that the company had previously received enforcement action from the HSE concerning its management of workplace transport.
Training was provided to Murfitts Industries' employees, but not to agency workers that were brought in, meaning that temporary staff were at higher risk of injuries than permanent workers.
For its part in the forklift truck accident, Murfitts Industries, of Station Road, Lakenheath, Suffolk, was fined £17,000 and ordered to pay legal costs of £10,985 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
"Injury Could Have Been Avoided"
Speaking after the trial finished, HSE inspector Steven Gill said, "This workplace injury accident 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 seat belts.
"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."
Another Firm Fined after Forklift Truck Accident
A similar accident that took in Braintree earlier this month also saw the HSE prosecute an employer after a forklift truck accident.
Pickfords' Appletree Farm in Essex was taken to Court by the authority after an unnamed 58-year-old staff member was hit by a reversing forklift truck.
The farm was fined £5,000 after admitting failures in ensuring pedestrians were kept away from moving vehicles
By Francesca Witney