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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
May 4, 2012

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Farming firm fined for forklift fall

A worker suffered a fractured skull when he fell from the prong of a forklift at an animal-feed mill in North Devon.

Richard Robinson was working at WJ Watkins and Son Ltd’s mill in Holsworthy, when the incident took place on 3 August last year. The 64-year-old was trying to crush cardboard and plastic inside large recycling bags in order to make more room.

The bags were suspended in the air by metal pegs, which were attached to the side of grain silos. The company did not give workers any instruction on how to do the work, so they created their own system to crush the contents inside the bags. This involved the workers being raised up to the bags by a forklift and then climbing into the bags to trample the recycled materials.

Mr Robinson climbed into one of the bags and crushed the contents, he before stepping on to the prong of the forklift. He was waiting to be lowered, when the vehicle moved unexpectedly, causing him to lose his balance and fall 1.5 metres on to a concrete floor. He has been unable to return to work owing to his injuries.

The HSE’s investigation found that the company had failed to put a safe system of work in place and did not monitor its staff. HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “The company did not give enough thought to how employees were going to work on the bags that were suspended in the air. They were allowed to use a very unsafe method because there was no fixed alternative available to them. As a result Richard Robinson could easily have paid with his life.

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12 years ago

Out of site out of mind that seems to be the quick way some farmers do maintenence or make a job quicker through business demand these days. for a long time now the only person that suffers in all this is the poor worker commited to earning some money for themselves. farmers should understand look after your workers better and they will look after you.