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Manufacturer and site owner fined after telehandler incident

News | 14th Sep 2021

A fencing manufacturer and the owner of the yard where the business operates has been fined after an employee was killed. Back in August 2017, a telescopic forklift (telehandler) used to move timber, was lifted too high, which resulted in it tipping over, knocking over some stacked timber which fell onto the employee resulting in their death. 

During the HSE (Health and Safety Investigation) investigation, they found that the telehandler’s safety device, designed to stop loads being lifted so high, had not worked for a long time and maintenance had failed to identify this. Furthermore, the machine operator had not received full training in its use and the machine was regularly used to lift overly heavy loads. The yard supervisor did not know how the machine should be used safely. The yard wasn’t laid out to allow the safe stacking of material.

The investigation also found that the fencing manufacturer shared the machine with a neighboring farm. Neither the fencing manufacturer nor farm had ensured that the machine was properly maintained nor that it was independently thoroughly examined, a test which must be done at least annually.

The fencing manufacturer was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,500 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the neighbouring farm was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,500 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 9(3) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

HSE Inspector Tania Nickson said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply ensuring that the vehicle in question had been properly maintained and thoroughly examined. This failure was compounded by PA Fencing Ltd not ensuring their yard was set up to safely store timber or that their drivers were properly trained and appropriately supervised. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Source: SHP Online

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