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    FLT overturn caused by inherently unsafe system of work

    Midland Steel Reinforcement Supplies Limited has been fined after a forklift truck overturned during the movement and emptying of a skip on 13 September 2011. The operator of the forklift escaped injury.

    The firm supplies reinforced steel bar (rebar) to the construction industry.

    Westminster Magistrates heard that the workman was instructed to empty bins at the site. He used a forklift truck to lift and move one of the skips to a larger waste container and balanced the skip on the edge of the container. He retracted the forks which he used to tip the skip and empty the contents.

    He dismounted from the cab and entered the waste container to attach a sling to the empty skip and the forks of the forklift in order to pull and lift it back out of the container. When he did so the forklift overturned.

    HSE found that the system and method of work was unsuitable and posed clear risk. The operator of the forklift was untrained and unsupervised. He was not wearing a seatbelt when the forklift overturned.

    Magistrates were told that a safer method was available to empty the waste steel rebars in the form of tipper skips, which were in use elsewhere at the site.

    Fork lift should never be used in this way

    Midland Steel Reinforcement Supplies Limited, of Fishers Way, Belverdere, was fined a total of £17,500 and ordered to pay £11,000 in costs after pleading guilty to two separate breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

    After the hearing HSE Inspector Maria Strangward commented:

    “The forklift truck should have never have been used to lift and manoeuvre the skip in this way. It was a system and method of work that posed clear risk, and the worker is extremely fortunate to avoid being seriously injured – possibly even killed had the forklift struck and crushed him as it overturned.

    The onus is on employers like Midland Steel Reinforcement Supplies to ensure operations are properly planned, managed and supervised, and that adequate training, instruction and equipment is provided to at all times to protect workers.”

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