A cargo handling firm has been fined £100,000 for unsafe working practices that led to an employee being badly injured when a sheet of marble fell on him.
The incident on 15 August 2014 was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found that GMA Warehousing and Transport Limited had neglected its duty to ensure safe working practices for its employees. The Suffolk-based company subsequently appeared before Ipswich Crown Court to answer charges relating to health and safety breaches.
If your company employs staff or contractors to work in potentially hazardous areas, such as unfinished construction sites, or if they are using dangerous equipment, it is important that the proper precautions are in place to reduce the risk of injury. As part of these precautions, you should ensure you have the appropriate employers' liability insurance to cover the type of work being completed.
The employee was working on behalf of Extreme Handling Limited at the site in Felixstowe owned by GMA Warehousing and Transport Limited when the incident occurred. The worker was assisting a forklift truck driver at the time, when a one tonne sheet of marble fell onto him. He suffered significant crush injuries to his legs as a result, as well as a fractured sternum and serious lacerations to the back of his head.
GMA Warehousing and Transport Limited was fined £100,000 for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. The cargo handling firm was also told to pay court costs amounting to £9,938.38.
After the hearing, Jessica Churchyard, a HSE inspector, said: “Employers have an absolute duty to ensure that they do everything reasonably practicable to ensure the health and safety of their employees.”