Neil Jennings, 56, of Ipswich, was waiting for his trailer to be loaded in the yard of Eagle Freight Terminal Ltd at its Great Blakenham premises when one of the forklifts doing the loading hit a pothole. The vehicle lurched sideways, shedding its pallets and boxes, one of which hit Mr Jennings.
He suffered multiple fractures to the vertebrae of his upper and middle back and was unable to work for several weeks. Mr Jennings can now only undertake light duties and can no longer carry out everyday tasks without pain and discomfort.
The incident, on 9 January 2012, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which today prosecuted Eagle Freight Terminal Ltd at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court.
HSE found that the freight yard road surface was pitted with potholes and had been the subject of complaints by the company’s employees over a significant period. There was little management of traffic movements and no instructions provided regarding segregation of workplace transport and pedestrians.
The court was told that two Improvement Notices were served by HSE on Eagle Freight after the incident requiring them to remedy the condition of the yard’s surface and to introduce systems of control which would allow vehicles and pedestrians to circulate safely at the site. Despite two extensions of time to allow the remedial work to be completed, an inspection carried out in September 2012 revealed no work had been completed and neither of the Notices had been complied with.
Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard that the company had been subject to similar enforcement action by HSE as far back as 2002/3 about the lack of control of workplace transport.
Eagle Freight Terminal Ltd of Lodge Lane, Great Blakenham, Ipswich, was fined a total of £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,501.23 plus £120 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace [Health, Safety and Welfare] Regulations 1992 and for failing to comply with two Improvement Notices.
Lighthouse Safety Comments: This is a prime example of why you should try all that is possible to segregate pedestrians and vehicles. Three of our courses (NEBOSH General Certificate/International CPC/Drivers CPC) all teach practical ways of better pedestrian control