Engineering Firms Prosecuted Over Crushed Hand Incident

HSE Prosecutes After Loading Accident Crush Injury

06.06.2014

A pair of engineering firms in Scotland have been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an accident during a metal beam unloading process in which a worker suffered severe hand crush injuries.

Falburn Engineering and Hugh Logan Plant and Engineering Services were both taken to court by the HSE over the incident, in which HGV driver Kevin Bradley suffered the injury in October 2010.

Mr Bradley, who was employed by Hugh Logan Plant and Engineering Services, delivered the beams to Falburn's premises in Plean, Stirling and was working with a forklift truck driver to unload them when a beam came loose during the lifting operation. The metal strapping snapped and the beam fell onto Mr Bradley, whose feet became trapped against the trailer and had his hand crushed as he put it down to stop his fall.

The result was the breaking of four fingers, a palm laceration and nerve damage, which necessitated an emergency operation to save his hand. Mr Bradley is yet to return to work as an HGV driver and may never do so.

An HSE investigation found that Hugh Logan Plant and Engineering Services had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment and did not provide advice to staff on the unloading process.

Falburn was found not to have carried out a risk assessment regarding visiting workers unloading the beams, while both firms were at fault for not agreeing a safe unloading system between them.
 
As a result, Hamilton-based Hugh Logan Plant and Engineering Services was fined £16,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2 of the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974, while Falburn Engineering was fined £10,000 for breaching Section 3 of the same Act.

Speaking after the hearing at Stirling Sheriff Court, HSE inspector Michelle Gillies commented: "This was an entirely avoidable incident. The dangers associated with the delivery and unloading of steel, in particular the risks associated with the use of a forklift to carry out the task and the risk of being struck by falling loads, are well-known in the industry and readily foreseeable."