Category Archives: Warehouse Accidents

Halfiax Firm Fined after Teenage Warehouse Worker Breaks Leg

THS Industrial Textiles, a West Yorkshire company, has been fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £4,994 in full costs by Halifax Magistrates for breaching safely laws following an incident where a 1.5 tonne pallet fell on to an 18-year-old warehouse worker and trapped his legs. The worker sustained a broken leg in the incident which occurred in the company’s premises in Heathfield Business Park, in Elland on 16 March 2011. The teenager, who does not want to be named, had to spend three days in hospital and does not work for the company anymore.

After the accident, Health and Safety Executive (HSE conducted an investigation) and subsequently prosecuted the company after they discovered numerous failings with regards to health and safety. It was discovered that the company had a dangerous system of work when it came to pallet and incorrect equipment was provided to workers who therefore were unable to safely carry out the job.

The workers dragged the pallets across the container floor by using straps to bring them closer to the doors where a forklift truck would lift them. The forks also dragged them closer to the doors. Furthermore, this truck did not have a valid lifting certificate and it also was carrying weight that was above its capacity. Before the incident occurred a co-worker of the man had informed the company of this, but THS Industrial Textiles had done nothing to remedy the hazardous working situation.

David Welsh, a HSE Inspector, had this to say about the incident –

“A young worker suffered a serious injury that could have been far worse as a result of this company’s numerous failures. This was not an isolated breach as it was clear these unloading operations had been taking place in an unsafe manner for some time.

“THS Industrial Textiles was very poor at assessing and managing risks arising from this work, despite its dangers being well recognised within the industry.

“Unloading pallets appears to be a simple operation but it needs to be planned carefully, workers need the right equipment for each kind of unloading task, and the employer needs to actively supervise them.”

Textile Company Fined After Worker Death

WE Rawson Ltd , a West Yorkshire based textile company, has been fined over £115,000 by Leeds Crown Court for breaching safety regulations after an incident where a 61-year-old forklift truck operator was crushed by a falling stack of rag bales and killed on 22 February 2010. Later that day the worker, James Welka, died in hospital.

The accident that caused Mr Welka’s death occurred when a column of bales collapsed and two bales of rags – which each weighed more than 300kg – hit Mr Welka in the head. Mr Welka from Wakefield had been working for the firm for five years and was an experienced forklift operator.

Mr Welka had been stood next to a five-metre high column of bales on day that the accident occurred. He had been calling a supervisor on the phone. Nearby, a colleague was moving some bales with a forklift. All of a sudden the column fell over towardsthe colleague’s truck, however the two bales that had been on top fell towards Mr Welka and struck him.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation discovered that WE Rawson Ltd had been unsafely stacking these rag bales. Not only were there safety failures with regards to the well-being of its employees, but they were also endangering the lives of pedestrians around the warehouse.

After the incident, HSE inspector Geoff Fletcher said:

“This tragic incident could have been avoided had WE Rawson taken its duty of care toward its employees sufficiently seriously. The sad consequence of the company’s failures is an unnecessary loss of life and the devastating impact this has had on Mr Welka’s partner, family and friends.

“The company was aware that the rag bales were unstable as there was a history of them collapsing. There were simple and straightforward steps that could have been taken to ensure that the stability of the bales did not present a risk to pedestrian workers in the warehouse area. Those measures were not taken.

“After Mr Welka’s death, the company adopted different stacking practices improving the stability of the stacks, reduced the need for pedestrians in the warehouse and improved the control of pedestrians in the warehouse. That is to be welcomed and expected, but cannot compensate for the loss of a life.”

Hertfordshire Manufacturer Fined after Employee Fractures Pelvis

Benchmark Fabrication Ltd, a firm based in Hertfordshire that designs and manufactures shop fixtures and displays, has been ordered to pay fines by Hertford Magistrates’ following an incident where a 47 year old employee fell and fractured his pelvis on 3 November 2010. The employee, Denis Cronin who is a production assistant from Baldock, was taking apart racking in the company’s temporary warehouse located in Hunting Gate, Hitchin when the accident occurred. One of the beams of the racking that he was sitting on tilted, which subsequently caused him to fall two metres onto a wooden pallet below. He ended up sustaining pelvis fractures and had to be hospitalised for a week in addition to three months recovery.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out  investigation by discovered that the manager had told Mr Cronin and his co-worker that it was common practice to use the zig-zags in the uprights of the warehouse racking as a ladder. Benchmark Fabrication Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The firm was ordered to pay fines of £20,000 in addition to £2,923.50 in costs.

Graham Tompkins, a HSE Inspector, said that the Benchmark managers should have been aware of the dangers of climbing warehouse racking and that appropriate equipment should have been provided. He then went on to say –

“If they were unsure, there is plenty of advice and guidance on how to dismantle this racking safely on HSE’s own website.

“HSE will take action against employers who break the law by failing to provide their employees with the necessary training and equipment to do their job safely.”

Two people were killed and 60 suffered a major injury while at work in 2008-2010 according to the latest statistics for Hertfordshire.