Safety Alert: Assess the risk of fall from height from vehicles – even a limited height fall can have serious consequences
A transport company has been fined after one of its drivers was killed after being knocked off his trailer while loading and unloading it.
The driver was delivering timber to a site. He had climbed onto the bed of his trailer to sling the load and attach it to the vehicle-mounted crane. While moving the load using the crane’s remote control he was struck by the crane and fell from the vehicle to the ground. The driver was taken to hospital and subsequently died.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that this incident was the result of health and safety failings by the company. The risks associated this work at height had not been properly assessed and the risk of falls had not been adequately prevented or controlled. The company had also not provided the driver with sufficient training and instruction on the safe operation of the remote crane controls on the vehicle.
HSE Inspector Leo Diez said: “Falls from vehicles can be overlooked by employers when considering risks from work at height. Simple control measures would have prevented this accident.”
A logistics company has been fined after a worker broke his back when he fell from a forklift truck.
The injured man was one of two employees who were loading a shipping container at a freight forwarders, ready for it to be dispatched. To reach the highest pallets inside the container, the man who was hurt had been lifted up on the forks of the forklift to stack boxes on top of an already wrapped pallet. He fell approximately two foot and landed on the corner of a pallet on the floor resulting in multiple spinal fractures.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the dutyholder had no safe system of work for loading and unloading the containers, and it did not have appropriate work-at-height equipment. The company had a risk assessment for working at height, but it was not suitable nor sufficient and did not correctly assess the working environment or correct control measures.
In sentencing, District Judge King said that even those who weren’t familiar with health and safety would know that this was an accident waiting to happen and it was only good fortune that the injured person was not paralysed or killed.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Carla Barron, said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to undertake suitable and sufficient risk assessments, devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary equipment, information, instruction and training to their workers. This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply planning the work and providing the correct control measures and safe working practices.”
ICHCA International is committed to helping industry to learn lessons fast, learn them once and make sure that they stay learnt. This information is intended to provide all organisations in the cargo supply chain with the opportunity to consider the events and to review and adapt their own health and safety control measures to proactively prevent future incidents.
We are grateful to HSE for providing details and for raising awareness. We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others. If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate. Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls. Learning content like this is highly valuable as it is based on real-world experience. We encourage everyone with publishable information about incidents to send it to us, so that we can raise awareness across the whole industry. Please contact us at email@example.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.