Aerospace manufacturer fined after worker traps leg

A supplier to the aerospace trade from Durham has been fined £800,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £5,000 when an employee suffered serious leg injuries after falling into the path of an advancing work platform that trapped his leg and dragged him along the floor for the length of the machine’s cycle.

More information on the accident and prosecution can be found on HSE's Press Release.


Tyre retread co pays 300k for lack of seatbelt rule

18 September 2017

A Lincolnshire-based tyre firm has been fined £300,000 after a worker died when the forklift truck he was operating overturned. Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres did not enforce seatbelt use for forklift truck drivers.

Lincoln Crown Court was told on 15 September that forklift driver Stephen Woollas was transporting tyres on 30 July 2014 when the vehicle ran over a loose tyre in the road at Vacu-Lug’s Grantham base. He was not wearing a seatbelt and when the truck overturned, Woollas was crushed between the vehicle and the ground. He later died of his injuries.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that as well as its lack of a seatbelt policy Vacu-Lug had stored the tyres insecurely, allowing them to roll on to the roadway.

Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres of Gonerby Hill Foot, Grantham, Lincolnshire pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The firm, which produces retread tyres, was also ordered to pay £25,000 in costs.

Recycler’s director is sentenced for fatal telehandler strike

Full article can be read here:


Brain injury sustained by warehouse worker in 4.5 m fall


A housewares firm and its managing director have been fined almost £300,000 after an employee sustained life-changing injuries in a fall from storage racking. The company’s insurer had refused it cover because of poor safety practice.

The warehouse manager for Probus Creative Housewares, which is part of Germany-based Fackelmann and supplies goods to national retailers, was working in the company’s warehouse in Cannock, Staffordshire, in December 2015.

The worker had used a pallet raised on a forklift truck to access the storage rack. He was standing with one foot on the racking and the other on the pallet when the pallet gave way, Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court was told. 

He fell 4.5 m on to the concrete floor of the warehouse and was airlifted to hospital where he was placed in a medically-induced coma for 11 days. He suffered brain injuries and is unlikely to be able to return to work.

Passing sentence, District Judge McGarva said "the incident resulted from long standing failures to improve health and safety, despite warnings from both the council and the company’s insurers”. 

Environmental health officers (EHOs) from Cannock Chase District Council, which brought the prosecution, found that the risk assessments were outdated, inadequate and had not been carried out by a competent person. 

It said poor racking in the warehouse, along with overstocking and lack of mechanical handling, created a "highly dangerous environment”.

The council’s investigation also found that the company’s insurance provider had refused to renew its policy due to safety failings and a lack of compliance.

Aine O’Brien, Cannock Chase Council EHO, said: "Key findings of the investigation were: an overreliance by the company on individuals with no formal experience or competence in health and safety; considerable pressure placed on employees to quickly turn around deliveries and dispatch orders with minimal mechanical handling assistance; inadequate and unsafe racking; individuals placed in positions of responsibility with little knowledge or experience; and condoning of unsafe working practices by senior managers.”

Probus pleaded guilty at the first hearing on 5 June to four charges. 

It admitted breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (HSW) Act, and regs 3(1)(a) and 13(2)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations for failing to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments and not providing adequate training, respectively. It also pleaded guilty to breaching reg 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations over its failure to ensure that the work at height was properly planned, supervised and carried out safely.

The company was sentenced to a fine of £240,000 with £20,000 costs.

Its managing director, Srdjan Urosevic, pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the HSW Act and reg 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.  He was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs. 

O’Brien said: "The fines were limited due to the company’s size, though an attempt was made to use the recent Tata Steel case to financially link the company to its larger parent. Although the prosecution did not succeed in ‘piercing the corporate veil’ the company received no further reductions in fines even though it showed operating losses.”


HSE Slips, Trips and Falls eBulletin

Date: 15 August 2017

Safe use of ladders

Combination ladders

Following a recent fatal accident investigation, HSE is strongly advising all duty holders and users of combination ladders to ensure that they:

  • carry out pre-use checks;
  • use them in accordance with instructions;
  • check the locking mechanism(s).

Failure to do so could result in serious accidents.

Telescopic ladders. 

The use of telescopic ladders is growing more popular due to their ease of storage and convenience; however, there are numerous issues with many of these products due to the number of components involved and their construction. Namely:

  •   they are often rated for a lower load (person, tools and materials);
  •   the stiles are prone to greater bending;
  •   they are prone to greater bending of the frame.

The issues are likely to increase with the height of the ladder.

The situation is compounded by significant numbers of substandard products that are being made available on the UK market.  These are often low cost products that are attractive and are imported from outside the EU. Some of these have been implicated in serious accidents, including fatalities. The relevant European Standard – BS EN 131-6:2015 – provides more information on the design requirements. 

Duty holders and users should ensure that:

  • pre-use checks on the ladders are thorough, checking the components and operation of each and every locking mechanism (often one or two per rung) and the associated release mechanism(s);
  • the ladders are stored well, transported carefully and maintained (including cleaning) as dirt and grit etc. can affect locking mechanisms;
  •  they understand the limitations and likely performance of their ladder, e.g. strength, bending etc.

Trading Standards are aware of the substandard products and have been taking action, e.g.


HSE will be amending its ladder guidance INDG455: Safe use of ladders and stepladders: A brief guide  to highlight these two issues.


Injured Aldi worker authorised to drive pallet truck without training

German-owned discount supermarket chain Aldi Stores has been handed a £1m penalty after an inadequately trained delivery driver was left with life-changing injuries.

In his second week of a new job that involved using a powered pallet truck to transport goods to stores, the driver sustained fractures to all the toes on one foot. He was off work for six months after having two toes surgically amputated and his foot restructured using wires.   

The investigation by Amber Valley Borough Council, which brought the prosecution, found that Aldi did not have standardised training programmes for new drivers and equipment operators. The workers instead were expected to shadow experienced members of the team before working alone.  

The victim, who was injured in November 2013 at the Somercotes store in Alfreton, Derbyshire, has returned to work for Aldi, but "his injuries have left him with pain that will have repercussions in years to come and can be considered life-changing”, the council said. 

Aldi pleaded guilty two breaching ss 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act on 13 January. It was sentenced on 14 July at Derby Crown Court, where it was also ordered to pay costs of £70,000. 

Summing up, Judge Peter Cooke noted that Aldi should have improved training for drivers sooner, following previous accidents. The company, whose turnover was £7.7bn in the last financial year, agreed and admitted to the court that its training programmes lacked structure and formality. 

The council’s portfolio holder for housing and public health, David Taylor, said: "The level of fine reflects the seriousness of the failings within the company. This investigation and outcome will hopefully result in a renewed focus by Aldi to ensure that standards are maintained to ensure employees receive adequate protection from risk of injury.” 

The council’s lead investigator, Julia Cope, added: "[The] driver had been asked to carry out work using equipment for which his employer had failed to provide structured and necessary formal training.”


ABA releases updated ABA workplace transport codes

The Accrediting Bodies Association for Workplace Transport (ABA) has announced the release of updated ABA workplace transport codes. Changes to these codes include:

  • M1 category now covers both electric and I.C.E
  • M1 category has been changed to be entitled multi directional counterbalance
  • A New category has been created which is M3 multi directional reach truck
  • A second new category has been added which is G6 container straddle carrier remote control

Following the ABA’s meeting in February 2017, Ernest Martin and Ricky Durkin from Combilift presented an overview of Combilift’s range to the ABA members and have since provided the ABA with a full categorisation of their machines in relation to the ABA’s workplace transport codes.

A new version of the Workplace Transport Groupings has been produced (Version4),   The ABA asks that all training organisations cease using their previous code listing, and commence using the updated ABA Group list which can be downloaded from the ABA website.


A Little History

Every object in the world is, at some time or another, carried on a wooden pallet. As a result, pallets have become arguably as integral to global trade as containers.

The humble pallet’s rise and rise can be traced back to the late 1930s when the development of the first forklift trucks enabled goods to be moved, stacked and stored with greater speed than ever.

But, the pallet really emerged as a revolutionary storage and materials handling tool during the second World War, when a US Navy Supply Corps officer called Norman Cahners invented the ‘four-way pallet.’

By cutting notches in the pallet’s side to enable forklifts to pick them up from any direction, Cahners effectively doubled material-handling throughput speeds.

Wooden pallet design has remained more or less unchanged since Norman Cahners’ relatively minor refinement, and now there are literally billions in circulation in the global supply chain.