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December 12, 2013

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Man loses leg in ‘entirely preventable accident’


A 59-year-old worker was crushed by a giant fish tank, breaking both of his legs leading to one having to be amputated, a court has heard. 
Following the incident Alloy Bodies Ltd has been ordered to pay nearly £90,000 in fines and costs after an investigation by the HSE found that work had not been planned, supervised or carried out safely.
The worker, from Middleton, who has asked not to be named, broke both his legs in the incident and doctors had to amputate his right leg below the knee due to the extent of his injuries.
During a six-day trial, Manchester Crown Court heard that the company manufactures lorry trailers, but that its bespoke services department had built a two-metre-wide fish tank for one of the firm’s directors.
The tank, which weighed around 200 kilograms, was being loaded into the back of a van on 1 June 2010 when it toppled from the forklift truck and struck the worker. The court was told the fish tank was not secured to a pallet before being lifted and workers struggled to load it onto the van due to its size.
In addition to having part of his right leg amputated, the injured employee also had to have a pin fitted into his left leg. He now has a prosthetic limb and is still unable to return to work, more than three years on from the incident.
Alloy Bodies Ltd, of Clifton Street, Miles Platting, was this week (9 December 2013) fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £56,621 in costs after being found guilty of a breach of the HSWA 1974.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Alex Farnhill, said: “This was an entirely preventable incident which resulted in an employee having to have part of his leg amputated. His whole life has been affected by the shortcomings of this company.
“No effort was made to plan the work in advance, despite it being a highly unusual activity for employees at the factory. The firm should have considered the risks and found a safe way of moving the fish tank.
“If it had been secured to a pallet and loaded onto a larger vehicle, rather than a van, than the terrible injuries the worker suffered could have been avoided.”

Approaches to managing the risks associated Musculoskeletal disorders

In this episode of the Safety & Health Podcast, we hear from Matt Birtles, Principal Ergonomics Consultant at HSE’s Science and Research Centre, about the different approaches to managing the risks associated with Musculoskeletal disorders.

Matt, an ergonomics and human factors expert, shares his thoughts on why MSDs are important, the various prevalent rates across the UK, what you can do within your own organisation and the Risk Management process surrounding MSD’s.

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