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Written by
on 14 June 2012


Employee received no Training for using Loader

A 21 year old man was killed when working at a paper bailing factory in the West Midlands in 2008.  The recycling company were fined £200,000 for breaching two sections of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. On top of the fine the company, SITA UK ltd, were also ordered to pay £77,402 in court costs and also ordered to pay £4,450 to the mother of the deceased man to cover the cost of the funeral.

Tragic Incident Could Have Been Avoided

Mark Bate was working alone when the accident occurred. He was loading paper onto a conveyor belt at the Tipton site.  When Mr Bate finished loading the paper he raised the safety bar which was over his lap in order to isolate the machine so he could lean out the vehicle. Tragically the machine didn’t isolate and the arm of the loader dropped, crushing his head and killing him instantly.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated the accident and discovered that Mr Bates had not been provided with any formal training by his employers. There had been no assessment made and there was no supervision to watch him operate the machine or vehicle.  Mr Bates was not the only person to work on the vehicle and the HSE also found that a hired self-employed engineer had also not been trained to operate the vehicle despite using it for several months.  In addition to these faults loader which Mr Bates was working on had not been properly maintained.  Over an eight month period it should had been serviced twice and it hadn’t even been checked once.

Guilty Plea from Recycling Firm

SITA UK appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court where they put in a guilty plea. The two regulations they breached were Section 2(1) and Section 3(1).  Section 2 (1) states that it’s the duty of all employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees as far as reasonably practicable. Section 3(1) states it is the employers’ duty to ensure that employees are not exposed to risks.

Despite the lack of training provided to Mr Bates he had been left to work on the loader without being supervised. This incident could have been avoided hence the fine for the Recycling plant. The tragedy could have been completely avoided.  Using transportation in the workplace is considered to be one of the most dangerous activities and is one of the main causes of death at work. It is vital that all machines are maintained and training is provided to anyone who will be working or coming into contact with the vehicles.

Contact Your Health and Safety Consultants

Health and safety services can help to avoid such tragic incidents from occurring in your workplace.  All risks need to be assessment, safe methods of work should be applied and health and safety training provided along with the correct training for the operation of vehicles.

Contact your health and safety consultants and discuss how you can comply with the law and keep your employees safe while at work.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.