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POOR DESIGN AND SEGREGATION LED TO FLT INCIDENT

Design issues implicated in reversing fork lift truck accident

Portable toilet hire firm Elliott Loohire Ltd has been ordered to pay over £10k in fnes and prosecution costs after a Depot Manager was struck by a reversing lift truck at the company depot in Stevenage, Hertfordshire in June 2008.

Mr Morris, aged 38, suffered multiple fractures to his right foot.

An HSE investigation found the depot yard was “poorly designed” and the view of drivers was obstructed. The workplace did not have “adequately segregated routes separating pedestrians and vehicles”.

Workplace transport is a priority area

HSE Inspector Rauf Ahmed said:

“This incident could and should have been prevented. Workplace transport is a priority area for health and safety and workers being hit by reversing vehicles is a well known danger. Employers must ensure that the interaction between moving vehicles and pedestrians in the workplace is managed properly.

If workplaces are properly designed then the chances of someone being injured like this are greatly reduced. There is plenty of free advice and guidance available from HSE to help businesses comply with the law and keep people safe.”

Comment

Since 1998 there has been an average of 61 fatalities each year involving workplace transport across non-construction workplaces and more than 2,150 major injuries.

The CDM Regulations 2007 now require designers to avoid foreseeable risks to the health and safety of persons using the structure as a workplace.

In addition, when designing any structure for use as a workplace the designer must also take account of the provisions of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 as they relate to the design of the structure.

The design of the workplace in this case predates CDM 2007. However, were the workplace to have been designed after CDM 2007 came into force the design practice may well have been involved in the investigation and a subsequent prosecution.

Designers need to take the simple steps required to meet their designer duties under CDM 2007.

HSE and Local Authority inspectors will increasingly be tracking back from workplace problems and incidents to explore the actions taken by designers to minimise risk under CDM 2007.

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