Tweddle Fabrications Ltd, an engineering firm based in Cumbria, has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £501 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations SI 1998/2307.
In February 2014, employees at the factory in Kirkbride tried to lift and rotate a partially constructed trailer chassis, weighing almost two tonnes. A 21 year old worker, who was not involved in the lift, was walking across the factory floor when the chassis moved and struck him. This left the worker with multiple cuts and fractures to his left foot and leg. The worker has not been able to return to work yet.
A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the chassis had swung out of control whilst being lifted by two forklift trucks.
Carlisle Magistrates' Court was told that Tweddle Fabrications Ltd had not planned the lift properly even though the lift was complicated. In addition, there should have been someone present to supervise the lift and measures should have been in place to keep other workers at a safe distance away.
HSE Inspector Steven Boyd said, “The worker still has difficulty walking almost a year after the incident but it could easily have been avoided. He wasn’t involved in the work to rotate the trailer chassis but had no way of knowing his life was being put at risk as he walked across the factory floor.”
He added, “Tweddle Fabrications had a legal responsibility to ensure that a complicated lift using two forklifts was planned properly, supervised appropriately and carried out safely but it failed to do any of this. This case should act as a warning to manufacturers that they risk the safety of their employees if they ignore the law, and could find themselves in court as a result.”