1st Call Training Portfolio

Download our portfolio (PDF)

Employee crushed

Posted: Wednesday 16th, October 2013

Runcorn boat manufacturer in court after employee crushed

Date: 20 September 2013

A Runcorn-based boat manufacturer has been fined after an employee's head
was crushed against the top of a lorry container.

Pyranha Mouldings Ltd was today (20 September) prosecuted by the Health and
Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its factory on the Whitehouse
Industrial Estate, which left the worker with a torn ear, three chipped teeth, nerve
pain and several stitches.

Chester Crown Court heard that the 49-year-old man from Northwich, who has
asked not to be named, had been lying on top of a stack of kayaks to pull the last
ones into a container on 2 March 2011.

As he tried to climb from the container into a cage to be lifted down to the
ground by a forklift truck, the forks were raised and he was crushed against the top
of the container.

The court was told the company had used this method of loading kayaks for
several years, despite employees requesting a ramp to be built to make it easier
to load the boats into containers.

An HSE investigation found Pyranha had used an unsafe system to load the
kayaks and had failed to carry out a risk assessment or provide employees with
suitable training. The work was also not properly planned and there was poor
communication between the forklift driver and the man in the container.

Pyranha Mouldings Ltd, of Aston Lane South in Runcorn, was fined £50,000 and
ordered to pay £6,562 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and
Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Adam McMahon said:

"The company should never have used a cage to lift workers down from
containers, but it allowed this practice to happen over several years. The
employee could easily have been killed when he was crushed against the top of
the container.

"Employees had raised concerns about this method and suggested using a ramp
instead, but it was only after this incident that Pyranha Mouldings took any action
to improve safety.

"If a ramp had been available at the time of the incident then the employee's
injuries could have been avoided. This case shows how important it is that
companies listen to their workers and implement safe systems of work."

call now