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.”