Dangers of makeshift lifting platforms highlighted
Published: 25 Jun 2012
A manufacturing firm and its director have been fined after two teenage workers fell from a poorly designed lifting platform.
On 6 April 2009, Leon Payne and another agency worker who wishes to remain anonymous, were helping to scrap shopping trolleys at Storetec Ltd's depot at the Sawpit Lane Industrial Estate, Derbyshire. The teenagers were placing trolleys in a skip using a metal plate as a makeshift lifting platform, which Storetec director Brian Crossan had designed to be manoeuvred by a forklift truck. As the forklift was lowering the platform, it got caught on either the lip of the skip, or a protruding trolley, and the platform was dragged off the truck's forks. The workers fell four and a half metres to the ground.
Mr Payne suffered fractures to his back, while his colleague broke both his heels and needed pins and a metal plate inserted in his feet.
The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) investigation found that the company had neglected to assess the dangers of working at height in relation to the task. It issued a prohibition notice to the company to stop it using an identical plate as a lifting platform, and also served improvement notices in relation to two other lifting platforms at the depot. Inspector Fiona Coffey said, "The company should have considered if it was necessary to use a platform like this in the first place, and if it was, used something that was legal and safe - this arrangement clearly was not. Mr Crossan put two teenagers in a dangerous position, without thought for the consequences."
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