Company fined £4,500 after telehandler overturns injuring worker

Posted by SM Smith Associates on November 12, 2010  |   No Comments »

A construction company from Gateshead has today been ordered to pay £4,500 after one of its workers was seriously injured when a forklift truck telehandler he was operating overturned.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Meldrum Construction Services Ltd following the incident at its site at Holly Hall, Sandhoe, near Corbridge, in Northumberland, on 16 July 2008.

The company, which is based at Durham Road, Birtley pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at Tynedale Magistrates’ Court in Hexham. It was fined £4,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,342.20 and a victim surcharge of £15.

The court heard that Tom Lincoln, 39, of Dudley, Northumberland, was lifting roof trusses onto the roof of the development when the forklift truck telehandler that he was operating overturned. The machine fell onto its side throwing Mr Lincoln against the machine’s window and controls.

Mr Lincoln was not trained to use the machine and was not wearing a seat belt when the incident happened. He suffered multiple fractures to his right arm, leaving him with limited mobility in his shoulder. He still requires medical treatment and is unable to return to his job.

After the case, HSE Construction Inspector John McGill, said:

“Mr Lincoln has suffered long term injuries as a result of this serious incident. Meldrum Construction Services Ltd failed to ensure that Mr Lincoln had the necessary training to use the machine and had not reviewed its processes to ensure that unauthorised personnel did not have access to specialist machinery on site.”

“While the company had produced a risk assessment and a system of work for lifting the roof trusses, neither were sufficient, and had failed to identify the dangers that workers would face.”

“This incident demonstrates how important it is for construction companies to effectively manage health and safety at all levels within the business.”
Following the incident, the company changed its working procedures to make sure that only trained staff were able to access and operate site machinery.

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