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Scrap metal firm in court over worker’s severe forklift injuries

published 31/03/2016

17 February 2016

A scrap metal firm and its director have been sentenced after a worker suffered severe injuries to his left arm when it became stuck in a forklift truck.

The worker, aged 30,  remained trapped for over two hours while the emergency services tried to free his arm from the vehicle’s mast on 8 November 2013.

The company and company director were prosecuted after it emerged he had been told to stand on the forks on the truck to help move scrap cars into the back of a shipping container.  The court heard that the worker, aged 36, had been driving the forklift truck and that the scrap cars were due to be exported.

The worker suffered severe crush injuries when his arm became trapped and it took the combined effort of three fire crews, a specialist major rescue unit, two air ambulances, a medical team and three ambulance crews to rescue him from the gap in which the injured man’s arm was trapped.

He sustained nerve damage to his left arm which makes it difficult for him to grip or lift items, and was in hospital for nearly two months. He still needs to visit for treatment and has been unable to return to work due to the extent of his injuries. The court was told the company failed to report the incident for nearly three months, despite being told on several occasions that this was a legal requirement.

The director was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to a breach of legislation. The company was given a nominal fine after discussion concerning the company’s finances. The firm pleaded guilty to breaches of legislation.

Speaking after the hearing, the Inspector said: “The worker remained trapped for over two hours while the emergency services battled to cut him free, but this incident could easily have been avoided.
“The company and director had a legal responsibility to make sure the worker stayed safe, but instead he was instructed to climb onto the forks of a forklift truck to move scrap cars into a container. He suffered severe injuries as a result which will affect him for the rest of his life.

“Workers should never be allowed to stand directly on the forks on a forklift truck because of the risk of them falling or being injured by moving parts on the mast. This case should act as a warning to firms that they will find themselves in court if they do not take the safety of workers seriously.


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