A waste management firm has been fined after an employee’s legs were crushed between two steel frames while unloading a truck.

A driver employed by McGrath Bros (Waste Control) Ltd was unloading steel frames from a delivery lorry with two colleagues at a site in Barking on 10 January 2008. The frames were resting on top of building rubble inside the truck and the men attempted to lift one frame using a crane and chains.

While it was being unloaded, one of the chains slipped, causing the hoisted frame to slip and fall back into the truck, crushing the victim’s legs as he became trapped between the two 700 kg steel-fabricated frames. The 44-year-old suffered nine fractures in his legs and had to spend six months in hospital and nursing homes and was off work for 14 months.

Health and Safety at Work

The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at City of London Magistrates’ Court It was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £7,447 in Health and Safety Executive (HSE) costs.

HSE Inspector Kevin Smith said: “The company failed in its most basic duty to protect this worker. This case should serve as a timely reminder to firms that all aspects of work need risk assessments which examine all of the relevant risks and are communicated to everyone involved. It can ruin lives when these simple precautions are not taken”.

Henrietta Phillips, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Serious Injuries Unit said: “The cost to an employer of failing in their duty of care to a worker can be considerable, but to a seriously injured person the impact will last forever. But, as with most workplace accidents resulting in serious injuries, this terrible accident could have been prevented by a simple adherence to health and safety regulations.”

More information: http://news.hse.gov.uk/2010/11/18/london-waste-company-fined-after-workers-legs-crushed/