A carpentry and joinery company has been fined after a man working unsecured on the forks of a forklift fell 3.5 m to the ground.
On 14 June 2021, the man was working for Staircraft Group Limited at its head office site in Coventry.
The employee was working from an unsecured stillage on the forks of a forklift in order to clean office windows at height. The stillage tipped and the employee fell to the ground. As a result of the incident, he sustained a broken leg and an injury to his elbow.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to identify that using a stillage to lift someone on the forks of a forklift, a method that it had used before, was unsafe. There was a lack of training for employees on the dangers of working at height without the proper equipment and there were no systems of work or risk assessments in place.
At Redditch Magistrates’ Court, Staircraft Group Limited, of Bayton Road Industrial Estate, Exhall, Coventry, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1974 and was fined GBP200,000 (USD241,000) and ordered to pay costs of GBP6,477.93 (USD7,800).
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Rebecca Whiley said: “The employee’s injuries were very serious, and he could have easily been killed.
“This serious incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”