Encirc Ltd, producers of glass bottles for the drinks industry, has received a massive fine after an employee was struck by a fork lift truck in its Chester factory, resulting in a broken arm.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation, and Liverpool Magistrates Court heard that the company had failed to take effective measures to ensure its workers were correctly segregated from fork lift trucks. The inquiry, following the incident on 14 December 2015, also found that clarity of segregation was well below the standards expected.
The company had a poor system of work, and even this was not enforced for the workers who were most exposed to the risk. The court was told that the company had been served with an earlier Improvement Notice (IN) in 2007 for poor segregation in the yard and warehouse areas. There had also been another FLT-related incident when an employee was injured in 2008.
Encirc Ltd of Enniskillen, Fermanagh pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 17 of The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations and was fined £500,000 with £7,290 costs.
HSE inspector Jane Carrol said:
“Poor segregation leads to accidents. There was a failure to properly plan work and this accident highlights the risks that are involved. Incidents relating to workplace transport can be avoided if effective measures are taken.”
Phoenix comments: According to the HSE, 24% of all workplace vehicle accidents involve fork lift trucks. Although workplace transport causes a fairly small proportion of all accidents at work, when they do happen injuries tend to be severe and fatalities are much more likely. This incident was entirely foreseeable, totally preventable and could have been more serious, hence the size of the fine. There was a systematic failure to effectively manage the risk associated with pedestrian and vehicle movement, despite a series of warnings, enforcement notices and previous accidents.