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Lack of Forklift Training Leads to Worker Dying on First Day at Work

A hardware company has been fined €100,000 for serious safety breaches, after a worker died within a few hours of his first day at work.

A hardware company has been fined €100,000 for serious safety breaches, after a worker died within a few hours of his first day at work.

On 16th January 2016, Ercio Peres Junior has begun working for Navan Hire Hardware and Safety Training Ltd. As one of his first tasks on his first day he was asked to help hold a heavy metal press in place as it was moved onto a forklift. The lift truck was being driven by the business owner’s 18 year old son at the time, who had not received sufficient training to operate the truck. He had only received a few hours of basic operator training, with no specific or on-the-job training.

The metal press, which measured 1.7 metres in height, was placed in an upright position on the prongs of the forklift, with Ercio walking alongside the truck, holding onto the side of the press. The toppled off the forks, crushing the new worker. Ercio’s father also worked on the site and commented that the image of his son on the ground covered in blood would stay with him forever.

During an investigation into the case, the company’s director admitted failing to ensure a safe system of work had been put into place. They also admitted that they had failed to provide any forklift operator training or instruction and operators received no supervision at all to aid with lifting and transporting the hydraulic shop press into the premises. Ercio had also not received any induction or safety training prior to helping with the task.

A representative for the Health and Safety Authority in Ireland, Terry Hallahan, informed the court that the task began at 9.30am and the incident occurred at 10.10am. Ercio had been in his new job only hours at the time of his death.  Mr Hallahan commented “Under no circumstances should a pedestrian be used to stabilise a load.”

The courts were informed that the recommended way to move a load of this nature would have been to lift the pins of the forklift and carry the load under the pins using a sling. Alternatively it could have been carried by inserting the pins through part of the press or strapping the press to a pallet.

The judge on the case commented that he was satisfied that the case was not one where the company had shown a disregard for health and safety in a bid to maximise profits, but rather this had been a one-off, yet tragic, accident as a result of inexperience and naivety.

Following the incident, Navan Hire Hardware and Safety Training Ltd covered the costs for Ercio’s body to be transported to his home country, Brazil, and also assisted his family with their travel and funeral expenses.

Navan Hire Hardware and Safety Training Ltd were fined €50,000, with further costs of €12,000.


Source: The Irish Sun, Company fined €100k over safety breaches that caused man’s death on his first day at work, 27th November 2018. Read the full article.

Agency Workers at Risk Due to Lack of Lift Truck Training

Frequent workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities are being recorded as a result of employers failing to check agency staff's qualifications and training.

RTITB warns that frequent workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities take place because employers don’t check agency staff’s qualifications and training when working in lift truck operations.

Laura Nelson, RTITB Managing Director for RTITB,says “All too often lift truck incidents hit theheadlines. Recently we have seen several cases where agency workers or temporary employees have been involved in accidents, many of which could have potentially been avoided if employers were more diligent about training.”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) state that half of fatal accidents in the workplace take place during a worker’s first ten days on-site, with half of those figures occurring on their very first day working for the company. Regardless of their worker-status, new starters are at a greater risk of accidents due to lack of experience. According to the HSE, they’re generally reluctant to voice concerns, or they’re not sure where to begin the process of asking questions.

“Whether an operator is on site for one day as a temporary employee or longer as a permanent team member, employers must make sure that they undergo suitable and sufficient specific and familiarisation training for the machine type they are required to operate and have the evidence to prove it,” Laura continues, explaining that this is important both for safety and for legal compliance.

Laura states that “It’s also important to assess the practical skill level of new starters and monitor their performance closely – not all MHE training is created equal so remedial training might be needed to fill knowledge gaps and correct bad habits. This is where correct management and supervision plays an extremely important role.”

RTITB’s course, Managing & Supervising Material Handling Equipment (MHE) Operations, ensure that managers and supervisors understand their responsibilities in MHE operations, and teaches them how to minimise risk in their workplace as much as possible.

This training course covers walking the floor, relevant legal regulations, manager and supervisor responsibilities, operator training, operational safety, applying theory to real-life practice, as well as the relevant next steps. The course gives supervisors and managers the skills they need to find and deal with any risks to MHE operations – whether they’re short-time agency staff or permanent employees.

An assessment is held at the end of the course, where candidates will complete a theory test and a video-based hazard perception test..

“To comply with legislation such as PUWER, not only must employers make sure that MHE operators are correctly trained, but also that managers and supervisors have received adequate training for the purposes of health and safety,” says Laura.

For more information on delivering RTITB accredited training courses for MHE operators, managers or supervisors in your business, call the expert RTITB team on 01952 520207.

£2.3m Fine for Major Coach Company Following Avoidable Crash

A major UK bus company has been fined £2.3million after failure to acknowledge warnings resulted in a crash that took the lives of two people.

A major UK bus company has been fined £2.3million after failure to acknowledge warnings resulted in a crash that took the lives of two people.

In 2015, a 77-year old bus driver for Midland Red (South) Ltd, a part of the Stagecoach Group, accelerated into a Sainsbury’s store based in Coventry. A seven year old boy, riding on the top deck of the bus, died as a result of a head injury. The second victim was a 76-year old pedestrian, who died after being struck by the bus and a falling lamppost.

Following the incident, a fact finding trial highlighted a number of major warnings regarding the driver, which were not acted upon by the bus company. The driver was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial and therefore could not be found guilty for causing the crash and was diagnosed with dementia not long after the crash. During the trial it was heard that the driver had mistaken the vehicle’s accelerator for the brake. The driver was handed a two-year supervision order and will be monitored by a doctor during this time.

Phil Medlicott, Managing Director of Midland Red (South) Ltd commented “We deeply regret the opportunities that were missed to act decisively on emerging warning signs.” Mr Medlicott also commented that the company was “deeply sorry” and “bears the weight of our responsibility for this tragedy”.

The trial brought to light a number of failings committed by the company, including the allowance of the driver to work in excess of 70-hours a week and continuing to allow him to drive commercially, even after a number of warnings about his driving. The fact finding trial found the driver had been warned about his “erratic” driving and had been involved in four crashes in just three years. Midland Red (South) Ltd claimed to have since made several changes to help their drivers and keep bus riders, other road users and pedestrians safe. These changes include more stringent working hours and medical testing for drivers.

The judge for the case, Paul Farrer, noted that the failings of Midland Red (South) Ltd were a significant cause for the crash and that the previous warnings about the driver were “not enforced, and almost immediately ignored”.

Source: SHP Online, £2.3m fine for Stagecoach group company in bush crash case, 28th November 2018. Read the full article.

Contractor Fined Following ‘Badly Planned’ Lifting Operation

A contractor has been fined £10,000 after an employee suffered severe injuries following a poorly planned lifting operation.

A contractor has been fined £10,000 after an employee suffered severe injuries following a poorly planned lifting operation.

On 11th April 2015, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) rented a site for a worker to complete lifting operations to move two large crane mats. The chains attached to the mats were unsuitable as they were unable to reach the required lifting points on the crane mat. As a result, they could not hold the load during the lift manoeuvre, causing the mats to crash down, crushing the workers foot. As a result of his injuries, the worker had to have five of his toes amputated.

Investigation into the incident found that the manoeuvres to move the crane mats were complex and not a common routine lifting operation. It was also found that the task had not been planned by a competent person, no risk assessment, etc. had been put into place for the task and the telescopic handler operator completing the task at the time did not have a valid qualification that would permit him equipped to safely complete the movement.

FCBC admitted  failure to ensure that an operation involving lifting equipment, to lift and move a steel crane mat was sufficiently planned, and by an experienced individual. They also admitted failure to ensure the task was supervised appropriately and carried out in a safe manner.

Commenting on the incident, HSE Inspector, Robert Hirst, said “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply implementing appropriate control measures and safe working practises. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required health and safety standards. “

FCBC pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, receiving a fine of £10,000.

Source: SHP Online, Lifting operation was badly planned, 28th November 2018. Read the full article.

920kg Loading Incident Leads to Crush Injuries

A logistics company has been fined after a lorry driver was crushed by a pallet being unloaded from his vehicle.

A logistics company has been fined after a lorry driver was crushed by a pallet being unloaded from his vehicle.

On 5th May 2017, an employee for Freight Movement Limited sustained serious injuries when a pallet containing 920kg of cardboard fell from the forklift that was unloading it, landing on top of him. As a result of the incident, the driver suffered multiple fractures and internal injuries.

Following the incident, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), found there was insufficient segregation between vehicles on site and all pedestrians. There was also a lack of safe waiting zones for drivers, poor control over vehicle movements and an absence of safe walkways. Further investigation also highlighted that Freight Movement Limited had failed to consider the risks associated with the day-to-day operations of its busy site, which if considered, would have ensured appropriate control of risks relating to vehicles, loads, etc. on the site.

HSE inspector, Sian Donne, commented on the case “This incident could have easily been prevented by simply reviewing the risks from transport and keeping transport and people apart. This is a reminder to all companies to take suitable action to control the risks from transport in their workplace. HSE will take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Freight Movement Limited pleaded guilty to Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. They received a fine of £84,000, with further costs of £5,633.69.

Source: HSE Media, Logistics company fined after driver suffers crush injuries. Read the full article.


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