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Events company fined £161,000 after caravan forklift operation goes wrong

 A company that manufactures stands for exhibitions and organises corporate events has been fined £161,000 after an employee was injured during an unsafe lifting operation at its premises in the West Midlands.

On 5 July 2018 employees of Sovereign Exhibitions and Events were attempting to move a park home chassis, a frame which supports a small building such as mobile home. 

The chassis was being manoeuvred thorough a doorway at the company’s site at Woodcorner Farm, Coventry, with staff using two forklift trucks to lift it, one at each end of the metal frame.

As the chassis was 4.27 m wide but the door opening only 3.96 m wide, the employees had to push down on one side of the chassis to tilt it, allowing it to fit through at an angle.

However, during the operation the chassis slipped off the forks of the truck supporting it.

The tilted chassis hit the floor, rebounded and then struck one of the employees on the shoulder.

 

Since the incident the company have widened the opening to allow for safe movement of the park home chassis. Had they done this before these injuries could have been avoided

HSE inspector Christopher Maher

 

 

He was lifted off his feet by the force of the impact, and flung backwards before hitting the wall of the building, around 2 m from where he was originally standing.

The employee was knocked unconscious and also suffered a broken collar bone.

The HSE investigation found that the lifting operation had not been properly planned, organised or carried out safely.

Employees were left to devise their own method of moving the chassis, as the company had failed to properly assess the risks and take simple measures to ensure the task was carried out safely.

At Coventry Magistrates’ Court, Sovereign Exhibitions and Events of Units 1-3 Arley Industrial Park, Colliers Way, Arley, Coventry, West Midlands, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company was fined £161,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,345.

Following sentencing, HSE inspector Christopher Maher said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“Since the incident the company have widened the opening to allow for safe movement of the park home chassis. Had they done this before the incident these injuries could have been avoided.”

According to the HSE’s enforcement database, two improvement notices were served against Sovereign Exhibitions and Events on 8 August 2018 in respect of failings at its Woodcorner Farm site.

The first notice said that the company had failed to ensure that effective measures were taken to prevent access to dangerous parts of a pillar drill located in the workshop.

According to the second notice, Sovereign Exhibitions and Events had also failed to ensure that effective measures were taken to prevent access to dangerous parts of a steel saw in the workshop.

Both notices were complied with by the revised compliance date of 7 November 2018, according to the enforcement database.

From: https://www.healthandsafetyatwork.com/news-and-prosecution/events-company-fined-161k-after-caravan-forklift-operation-goes-wrong

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