An Essex construction company has been fined for putting workers at risk after neglecting to check and maintain a potentially dangerous piece of lifting equipment.
Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday (19 April) that a forklift truck belonging to Aveley Construction Ltd was heavily used at the company’s South Ockendon premises for more than 12 months without any kind of thorough examination.
It is a legal requirement to check such equipment at least once a year, yet the truck, used to move heavy steel fabrications, was kept in continuous use for well over a year despite showing obvious signs of disrepair.
Magistrates were told that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out on 23 June 2011 found that when the truck was eventually examined only six items out of 24 that formed the basis of the report were marked “satisfactory”. The remaining 18 items were classed as “repair needed”.
Defects included worn out tyres, flashing beacons and lamps not working and a loose counter-weight.
Aveley Construction Limited, of Aveley Industrial Estate, Arcany Road, South Ockendon, was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,238 in costs after admitting single breaches of the Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Keith Waller said: “The company’s forklift truck had a number of serious defects which put the driver and those in the vicinity of the truck at risk of being seriously injured or even killed.
“All machinery must be maintained regularly to ensure it is safe to work with and be near. It is not enough to rely on reactive maintenance and only fix things when they go wrong; companies should be looking for signs of wear and tear before any deterioration leads to an incident.
“HSE will not hesitate to prosecute when companies neglect their equipment and put workers and others at risk.”
LST Comment: The Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 requires lifting equipment that is used for lifting people is subject to a through test and inspection by suitably qualified parties every 6 months, and while a 12 monthly through test and inspection is required when lifting any stores or materials (ire other than people) , and the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”
Had these simple rules been followed then these fines would have been avoidable, the question is, does your work equipment meet statutory requirements with regard to test and inspection.