Health and Safety Executive (UK)
Health and Safety Executive (UK)

Metal company fined after forklift truck runs over worker

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Source: Health and Safety Executive (UK)

An international metal-processing company has been fined GBP£12,500 after one of its workers was run over by a forklift truck in Bolton.

All Metal Services Limited (AMS) was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at the company's warehouse on the Wingates Industrial Park in Westhoughton on 8 September 2008.

Derek Baxter, from Radcliffe, was kneeling down to measure empty pallets at the end of an aisle when a forklift truck ran over his right leg, trapping his foot.

The 54-year-old broke three toes, fractured several bones in his foot, and suffered extensive skin, muscle and tissue damage. He still has difficulty walking more than eighteen months after the incident.

Manchester Crown Court heard that items of stock had been left in the aisle, narrowing the route for the truck, and that there was not a separate walkway for pedestrians.

HSE Principal Inspector Alex Farnhill said:

'Derek Baxter has been left with a badly damaged right leg as a result of AMS's poor health and safety procedures. He had to take sixteen months off work and still has a swollen foot which makes it difficult for him to walk.

'The company has an annual turnover of more than US$180 million with bases in the UK, France and China. Any organisation that size can easily afford to spend time and money on basic health and safety.'

AMS, which supplies raw materials to the aerospace and defence industries, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 by failing to provide a separate walkway for pedestrians.

The company, which has its headquarters on Horton Industrial Estate in West Drayton, Greater London, was ordered to pay £4,230 towards the cost of the prosecution in addition to the fine at Manchester Crown Court on 16 April 2010.

Alex Farnhill added:

'Measures should have been taken to ensure vehicles and pedestrians were effectively separated in the warehouse so they could both circulate in a safe manner.

'I hope this incident will act as a warning to AMS, and encourage other manufacturers to think more about the potential dangers of vehicles in factories and warehouses.'

There were 32 deaths and more than 22,400 serious injuries in the manufacturing sector in Great Britain last year.

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