A London-based waste management firm has been fined after an employee’s legs were crushed between two steel frames while unloading a truck.
McGrath Bros (Waste Control) Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident on 10 January 2008.
A driver employed by McGrath Bros was unloading steel frames from a delivery lorry with two colleagues at a site at Debden Wharf, River Road, in Barking.
The frames were resting on top of building rubble inside the truck and the men attempted to lift one frame using a crane and chains.
While it was being unloaded, one of the chains slipped causing the hoisted frame to slip and fall back into the truck, crushing the victim’s legs as he became trapped between the two 700 kg steel-fabricated frames.
McGrath Bros (Waste Control) Ltd of McGrath House, Hepscott Road, Hackney, had been making large steel frames at its Hackney site and transporting them to the Debden Wharf site.
The frames, which individually measured 9m by 1.6m by 30cm, had a total weight of up to 1.4 tonnes.
The man suffered nine fractures in his legs and he had to spend six months in hospital and nursing homes and was off work for 14 months.
At City of London Magistrates’ Court, McGrath (Waste Control) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £7,447 in costs.
HSE Inspector Kevin Smith said:
“This was a very distressing incident which could and should have been avoided. Instead, a man was left with terrible injuries as a result of a badly planned lifting operation.
“The company failed in its most basic duty to protect this worker. This case should serve as a timely reminder to firms that all aspects of work need risk assessments which examine all of the relevant risks and are communicated to everyone involved. It can ruin lives when these simple precautions are not taken.”
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Notes to editors
1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
2. Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states:
“It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
3. For further information about working in the waste management industry go to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/waste/index.htm
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