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June 2, 2023

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Company fined as worker crushed by 700kg crate

A glass distribution and installation company has been fined £200,000 after an employee broke two ribs and fractured his vertebra after being crushed by a crate.

The man, 29, was working for PSV Glass and Glazing Limited at the firm’s warehouse at Stakehill Industrial Estate in Middleton.

He had been moving a crate of replacement glass, weighing approximately 700kg, with the help of another colleague on 16 June 2021.

The pair placed the crate on the top of a set of skates and intended to push the load across the warehouse. While doing this however, the crate became unbalanced and fell, trapping the worker underneath.

He suffered two broken ribs, a punctured lung and a fractured vertebra. Six screws and a plate were inserted to fix the vertebra.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found PSV Glass and Glazing Limited’s system of work used to move crates in the warehouse was hazardous. When a crate was balanced on the skates it became unstable, increasing the risk of the load tipping. In addition to an inadequate system of work to move the crates, the company also had no suitable risk assessment despite a previous similar incident. Had the warehouse been less congested, a more suitable method of moving the crates could have been used, such as a proprietary pallet handling truck.

PSV Glass & Glazing Limited, of Hillbottom Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £4,897.05 in costs at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 26 May 2023.

HSE Inspector Sharon Butler said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided. Employers should ensure they carry out an assessment of the risks when moving and handling loads and that the correct equipment is identified and used.”

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