A production supervisor with 34 years’ experience was involved in a fatal accident after a stack of 3 metre long tubes fell on him. The man had been stacking the tubes using a fork lift truck and had left the cab of the truck to check the security of the stack he had created. As he did so one of the stacks weighing around 1 tonne collapsed onto him. Help arrived but he died at the scene.
The HSE investigation found that no restraints or support for the load was used and the wood used to separate the stacks was not the usual size. The wood size was not specified by the company. It was also found that the employees had not received any specific training of instruction on stacking the tube bundles. More importantly, there was no risk assessment completed for the task.
The company was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £33,000 for what the HSE identified as needless and easily avoidable had a proper risk assessment been completed.
Clearly this manufacturing business failed to consider the risks to its employees and paid little regard to looking after their health and safety. It makes you wonder why the business did not face a charge of Corporate Manslaughter given such failings.
We have worked with other businesses where stack safety has previously been ignored and people have been put at undue risk. The frustrating fact is that taking a little time to consider the risks and then implementing suitable controls is not rocket science, nor does it have to cost a lot of money.