Recent Safety case – Wholly avoidable lifting accident, cost business £30,000
Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard how on 13 November 2019, 57-year-old Ian Challinor, a maintenance engineer at the company, was working with colleagues to move a large and heavy milling machine using a forklift and machine-moving skates. During the work at the site on Swindon Road, Cheltenham, the machine became unstable and toppled onto him causing fatal head injuries.
Using heavy machinery
The lifting and movement of heavy machinery is a specialist and often complex task requiring significant planning, expertise, knowledge and specialist equipment to ensure the risks are controlled. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 make it very clear as to the requirements for the safe use and maintenance of plant and equipment including the need for risk assessments and safe systems of work implemented by competent workers.
The HSE investigation
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to assess and plan the task of moving the machine to determine a safe system of work, provide clear instructions to the workers and supervise the activity. In addition, the skates used were not adequately maintained or subject to a suitable inspection programme to ensure that they were safe to use.
Cheltenham Tool Company Limited of Swindon Road, Cheltenham pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,033.
It is always tragic when someone is injured or killed at work; this was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to ensure that this one-off task could be undertaken in a safe manner.
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