Industry news roundup: week ended 10th Sept 2012:
It’s been another bad week for both manufacturing workers and their employers, as two instances of personal injury at work bring massive fines and legal fees to bear on two different companies.
First up, we have a thirty six year old man who lost three of his fingers in an accident involving a forklift truck and a sheet of metal. The man, whose name has not been made known to the press, had been employed by Lancashire engineering firm PRF Engineering, working on manufacturing bicycles and supermarket trolley shelters, at the time of the incident.
The Health and Safety Executive investigated the incident, discovering that the man lost his fingers because of the unsafe methods used by his employers in regards to how the metal sheet was being transported. The HSE took PRF Engineering to Ormskirk Magistrates’ Court for health and safety violations, describing to the court how the injured man was told to place the three metre wide metal sheet down across the forks of the forklift truck and then to stand upon one of the forks while a colleage stood on the other one, balancing it precariously, only to lose the fingers when they slipped within the forklift mechanism as the sheet was being lowered into place.
Lucky for the worker, hospital staff were able to re-attach the missing digits, though it will be some time until he has completely healed. Unfortunately for PRF Engineering, the Skelmersdale-based manufacturer admitted to breaching health and safety violations, earning a £6,000 fine – and more than £5,000 in legal fees as well!
Sometimes you don’t need a piece of incredibly expensive equipment to hurt yourself at work. While crush injuries are quite common, falls from height are doubly so as experienced by Mark Lambton, a fifty year old roof maintenance worker who took a nearly seven metre tumble from the roof of a Darlington domestic residence and suffering life-changing injuries as a result.
J Wilson Home Improvements, a local contractor, had hired Mr Lambton to aid in carrying out roof maintenance to the property to clear the roof of debris. However, the man fell when attempting to scale the gable end of the house by using a set of ladders that had been placed there for that purpose; instead he fell and injured himself so severely that he may have suffered enough brain damage to leave him in a permanent vegetative state.
The HSE went positively wild upon discovering the incident, investigating the accident site and discovering that the work was not being carried out safely and that there had been no safety harness or guarding fitted to prevent falls from the roof. J Wilson Home Improvements’ eponymous owner, James Wilson, was slapped with a £12,000 fine by the local Magistrates’ court after the HSE prosecuted him, throwing in an additional £3,000 in court costs and legal fees for good measure.