An engineering company has been fined after a worker was struck by a forklift.

The court heard the employee was working as a ‘banksman’ to a forklift truck moving a load across a yard.  But as he walked alongside the truck it drove into the back of his leg.

Failure to properly plan

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to properly plan, organise and carry out the task safely.

The HSE said the use of a banksman to guide forklift loads had become a ‘daily occurrence’ and this created an unsafe system of work.

Tag lines could have been used to help steady the forklift load rather than having a banksman do it by hand. But the company said using banksmen was a better way to secure loads.

However, the HSE found the company’s own risk assessment advised that as ‘precaution to control risk’ workers should ‘attach tag line to load to ensure maximum control’.

Puma Engineering and Construction Limited admitted falling short of Health & Safety rules. The company broke the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,780.

Safer options

The HSE said ‘All lifts must be properly planned, assessed and carried out in a safe manner. There were other safer reasonably practicable options that the company could have taken to prevent the forklift coming into contact with the individual.’

It added ‘The safest method in this instance was to use tag lines or push sticks to control the load as opposed to controlling the load by hand.’

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