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H&S MANAGEMENT SYSTEM PROVED INEFFECTIVE

Longstanding fault in loading dock ended in crushing of workman

A 10-year-old equipment fault was revealed when a workman was trapped and injured between a reversing lorry and loading platform. He suffered a fractured collarbone and forearm in the incident. HSE investigators found a flap connected to a dock leveller had been broken for a decade.

The injured man was a ‘standin’ for the regular storeman receiving deliveries to a raised loading bay. A dock leveller (used to bridge the gap between the rear of the truck and the loading bay) was not working properly.

A ‘flap’ should have risen automatically when the leveller was operated. It failed to do so and had to be held up manually in the danger area. A reversing vehicle caught the workman between the back of the trailer and the front of the dock leveller.

Simple safety procedures ignored

Business Forms Express, of Bristol pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) and Regulation 8(1) of Provision of Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3 (1) Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

HSE Inspector, Dominic Goacher, said:

“In the ten years this equipment had been used by the company it had never worked as intended by the manufacturer. It is astonishing that this company allowed its workers to use equipment which had been broken for so long.

To compound matters, the regular storeman had been forced to develop a way of working using the faulty equipment, but this was not passed on to Mr Ford. The firm had a health and safety management system but it failed to address the risks involved with unloading and reversing lorries in the workplace.

This case demonstrates what can happen when simple safety procedures are ignored.”

The company was ordered to pay £1,500 in fines per breach, plus £500 in compensation to the injured party, and £2626 costs.

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