A powder coating company has been fined after one of their workers in a factory in Poole, Dorset sustained a shattered lumbar vertebrae and was required to be kept in hospital for two weeks in a lying down position.
On the 27th of July 2017 the worker was checking the straps on a wheeled A-Frame trolley which contained ten six-metre-long twin wall polycarbonate sheets which each weighed 34 kilograms. The load unexpectedly collapsed onto him forcing him to the floor. Southampton Magistrates’ Court also heard how his colleagues had to lift the sheets off him and call the emergency services.
The investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive found that C&R Powder Coating and Welding Fabrication Ltd had ‘failed to ensure the safety of the workers engaged in the transfer and storage of plastic sheeting on a trolley’. Furthermore, they found that the trolley was not suitable for the storage and transport of the plastic sheets because it was not long enough and had no way of making sure the straps being used would stay in place.
C&R Powder Coating and Welding Fabrication Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). The company has been fined £20,000 and is required to pay costs of £10,338.20.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Berenice Ray, said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out safe working practices and ensuring work equipment is suitable for the purpose for which it is to be used.
“Accidents like this can happen with plastic sheets but equally with wood board, steel plate or stone slabs. Any flat profile material should be secured against falling or slipping out as the consequences can be a serious injury or even a fatality.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”