Worker Fractures Skull In Forklift Incident

Scenery Maker Fined After Worker Struck By Falling Set

15.11.2013

A 35-year-old worker suffered leg and skull fractures in an incident involving a forklift truck.

The unnamed man from Stoke Newington was working for a company that specialises in making scenery for London's theatres and fashion shows.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the employee was struck by a piece of a mock log cabin set that had been suspended from the forks of a lifting vehicle.

The set was being placed into a lorry ready for delivery to the Adelphi Theatre in the West End.

An investigation by the HSE discovered that Souvenir Scenic Studios had failed to plan this task thoroughly enough and this resulted in the accident.

It emerged that the biggest section of the set had been successfully lifted on to the truck, but one of the smaller pieces - which weighed 300 kg - was not secured. As it was hoisted upwards, the set became unbalanced and fell on the worker.

The firm was fined £3,500 after admitting a single breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. It also accrued costs of £2,033.

Following the hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, HSE inspector John Crookes said this incident highlights the need for businesses to properly plan lifting work.

"This worker was fortunate to make a full recovery, but the weight of these loads - 300 to 600 kg - means that this could easily have had fatal or life-changing consequences," he remarked.

"If the need arises to lift something excessively heavy or awkwardly shaped, firms must ensure their employees don't go ahead until they have all the correct equipment they need to do it safely."

Although figures recently released by the HSE showed the number of occupational fatalities and injuries being reported in the UK has reached an all-time low, the regulator is still concerned about the frequency of transport and lifting accidents.

On average, forklift trucks are involved in nearly a quarter of all workplace transport incidents.

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