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HSE Fine ‘Demonstrates Importance Of Risk Assessments’

Company Fined £60,000 After Worker Suffers Broken Back


Logistics firms have been urged by a workplace injury expert to recognise the importance of risk assessments, after a company was fined over an incident in which a worker broke his back.

Palletways (UK) of Fradley was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £40,000 in relation to an incident in August 2008, when 60-year-old forklift truck driver Barry Hill was struck by a computer cabinet he was loading on to a trailer.

Stafford Crown Court heard that the incident happened when he noticed a cabinet was rocking and got out of the truck to check. It was also revealed that the depot manager was not aware of the first aiders on-site who could help him.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that the risks related to the moving and loading of goods were not assessed, while Palletways also failed to monitor or supervise drivers correctly.

Stephen Nye, a workplace injury expert based at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said it was vital that the logistics industry as a whole learns from the incident.

He said: “Risk assessments play a vital role in workplaces across the UK, ensuring that all aspects of work have been examined to ensure employees are safe from any potential harm.

“Sadly, cases like this, as well as a number we act in, have highlighted instances in which employers have ignored the importance of assessments, as well as proper supervision and management.

“There can be incredibly serious consequences to not addressing health and safety in the workplace and we hope that logistics firms and other employers learn lessons from these types of cases which will ensure the same mistakes will not be seen again.”