A UK packaging firm has been fined after a forklift truck reversed into a delivery driver’s leg, fracturing his ankle.
LP Foreman & Sons of Farrow Road, Chelmsford, was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £621 after pleading guilty to breaching the relevant regulations.
The 44-year-old man was struck by the truck as he stepped from the rear of his lorry after helping the forklift operator to reach a pallet from inside the vehicle at the site in August 2013.
Fractured left ankle
The worker, who does not wish to be named, suffered a serious fracture of his left ankle, severe damage to tendons and a large fracture blister which covered his lower leg.
L P Foreman & Sons has been established for more than 110 years as a supplier of transit packaging products, and logistics packing services to industry.
The firm is an agent for Sealed Air and Tri-Wall Europe among others, according to its website.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and prosecuted LP Foreman & Sons at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last week.
The court heard it had become common practice for van drivers to instruct forklift truck operators where to place loads within their vehicles for ease of delivery.
HSE found that even though this brought drivers directly into the area of the yard where forklift trucks were operating, no effective procedures had been established or training provided to ensure that workers on foot and moving vehicles were kept safely apart.
The injured worker returned on light duties in November 2013 and was able to resume as a driver in January this year.
Absence of control systems
Paul Grover, HSE Inspector, said the injury was ‘entirely preventable’, and was caused by LP Foreman & Sons’ failure to recognise the hazards from loading operations at their premises.
“Our investigation found that there was an absence of effective systems of control which were sufficiently robust to allow workplace transport and pedestrians to circulate the site in safety,” he said.
“It had become regular practice for delivery drivers to take up positions where forklift trucks were loading or unloading and this unsafe practice has led to a serious injury.”