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November 15, 2010

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Firm fined for falling foam

A lorry driver suffered a broken back when a pile of insulation boards fell on him during a delivery at a foam-manufacturing facility in Staffordshire.

On 21 October 2009, Colin Ball, 52, was delivering a consignment of insulation boards to Recticel Ltd’s warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent. A group of Recticel employees began unloading the packs of insulation boards and stacked them four units high on the ground. Mr Ball was standing in the loading bay next to the stacks, when one toppled over and knocked him back into the lorry. He suffered multiple spinal fractures and serious head injuries. He is still receiving rehabilitation for his injuries and has been unable to return to work.

The HSE visited the site the next day and issued a Prohibition Notice, which ordered Recticel to stop stacking deliveries more than two units high in the loading bay. An Improvement Notice was also issued, which required a risk assessment to be carried out on stacking procedures.

Recticel appeared at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court on 5 November and pleaded guilty to breaching s3(1) of the HSWA 1974. It was fined £6238 and ordered to pay full costs of £11,762.

The company had no previous convictions and told the court that it had complied with the enforcement notices. It has carried out a risk assessment and now ensures that all deliveries are stacked no more than two units high.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Lyn Mizen said: “Employers have just as great a duty of care to visiting employees as they do to their own. Every year in the delivery and haulage industry there is a number of workplace fatalities and serious injuries as a result of falling objects.

“This incident serves to highlight the need for companies to ensure that their stacking arrangements are properly planned, managed and controlled. This incident could easily have been prevented had the company implemented a suitable and sufficient safe system of work to effectively manage the risks posed by stacked materials in their warehouse.”


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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