Removals company fined after worker’s foot injury

A nationwide removals and storage company has been sentenced for safety failings after a forklift truck reversed into a worker at an Essex site, causing serious injuries.

The 58-year-old man from Braintree was struck by the truck as he stood by the cab of a removals lorry during a loading operation at Pickfords’ Appletree Farm site on Polecat Road, Cressing.

The worker, who does not wish to be named, suffered three broken toes when the front of his left foot was forced into the steel toecap of his boot during the impact. He also suffered a dislocation of the upper foot as well as bruising.

He has since had to wear a special support in his shoe to help him walk correctly and was only able to return to work some 11 months after the incident.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Pickfords Ltd at Colchester Magistrates’ Court after an investigation found that the company didn’t have sufficient procedures in place to keep pedestrians away from operating forklift trucks.

The court was told that the forklift truck also had had a broken reversing alarm when the incident happened, which had not been working for over a year.

Pickfords Move Management Ltd of Pickfords Park, Laxcon Close, Drury Way Industrial Estate, London, was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,415 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

After the case an HSE Inspector said:
“This was an entirely preventable injury caused by Pickfords’ failure to recognise the hazards arising from loading operations at their premises.

“The risks to pedestrians when they’re near to operating forklift trucks are very serious, but also well documented. There is no excuse, therefore, for companies to neglect safety.

“Pedestrians, whether they are employees or not, must always be kept separate from operating forklift trucks through a safe system of work that is clear and well adhered to.”