An employee has been fined after an apprentice suffered serious injuries when he fell from a makeshift platform – a potato box lifted by a forklift truck.
On 30 July 2018, FY used a forklift truck with an attached potato box to lift an apprentice electrician to a height of four metres to carry out electrical repairs at a potato storage warehouse near Ely. This was inherently unstable and, unfortunately (but unsurprisingly) the apprentice fell to the floor. The apprentice was admitted to hospital and sustained a punctured lung and broken ribs.
The HSE’s investigation found the apprentice’s employer had carried out a risk assessment and purchased suitable equipment for work at height, but (in a deviation from the safe working practice) that this was not used by the employee in charge of work at the site.
FY pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £2,000 with costs of £560.40. Note: this is a personal fine to be paid by the employee.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Graeme Warden said:
Unfortunately, forklift trucks are frequently used with potato boxes or pallets attached to lift people to work at height. This incident serves as a reminder of the potentially disastrous consequences.