Bedfordshire firm fined following worker accident

A Bedfordshire-based metal company has been prosecuted by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after one of its workers was seriously injured in a workplace accident.

Luke Simpson, 24, was an agency worker for Smiths Metal Centres Limited of Stratton Business Park, Bedfordshire, and suffered serious damage to his foot when a trolley carrying stainless steel bars fell on his legs.

The bundle of 18 bars, which had a combined weight of around 900kg, was being moved by Mr Simpson and another workers when it tipped over and the bars fell off, trapping Mr Simpson's leg and foot. He was taken to hospital where doctors discovered that his right leg was broken and his right foot was crushed.

Mr Simpson endured numerous operations and was forced to have his foot amputated. He now has a prosthetic foot and is only able to work part-time.

Businesses which make use of potentially dangerous equipment or tools, such as heavily loaded trolleys, should ensure they have a sufficient level of employers’ liability insurance to help cover them if they are prosecuted for an accident at work.

Following the incident, the HSE carried out an investigation and found that there was no risk assessment or written system of work for the trolley used by the firm at the time of the accident. Te trolley was also found to have had faulty wheels and there was no maintenance record for it.

Smiths Metal Centres Limited pleaded guilty to Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at Luton Magistrates’ Court and was fined £130,000 as well as costs of £2,456.40 and a victim surcharge of £120.

HSE inspector, Emma Page, said: “Luke’s life has been drastically altered by what happened and this incident could have been very easily avoided with some very simple measures. The right equipment and a correct maintenance system would have prevented this from happening.”