New Addington company fined £14,000 after man's leg is crushed by metal sheets
A Croydon company that builds truck bodies has been fined £14,000, after a worker's leg was crushed by metal sheets weighing nearly four tonnes.
Self-employed lorry driver Andrew Trotter from Stoke on Trent, was unloading the pack of six-metre steel sheets at Thompsons (UK) Ltd in Vulcan Way, New Addington, when the incident happened on January 5, last year.
The 52-year-old had delivered the sheet metal packs in his flatbed lorry and Thompson workers were unloading them using a tandem lift by two counter-balanced forklift trucks.
The packs were being re-loaded onto a separate lorry before being taken to the firm's factory.
But the re-loading was unbalanced and as the second pack was being placed on the first, a wooden baton became dislodged causing the whole sheet steel pack to slide.
Mr Trotter, who was picking up straps between the two lorries, was struck by the corner of the pack before it hit the floor.
He suffered a fractured leg and muscle damage and has limited knee and ankle movement. He has had to return for hospital treatment when swelling of his leg has caused skin splitting and infection.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted Thompsons (UK) Ltd at Westminster Magistrates' Court yesterday, for two breaches of health and safety legislation.
The court heard the HSE found a lack of planning led to Mr Trotter being able to work close to the chassis lorry as the hazardous re-loading was taking place.
The tandem lift was described as "a complicated procedure that had been neither properly planned nor supervised."
Thompsons (UK) Ltd were fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,284 after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and a separate breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.
After the case, HSE Inspector Matt Raine said: "This incident could easily have resulted in death and was completely preventable. The injuries Mr Trotter sustained have been painful and life-changing and although he can drive his lorry, it is not certain how long he will be able to do so.
"Thompsons (UK) Ltd failed to make sure that the lifting operation of the sheet metal was properly planned and supervised and then, of course, carried out safely.
"In addition they had not provided adequate training in the use of the forklift trucks to one of their employees involved in the lifting operation."
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