A port operating company has been fined £300,000 after an attempt to load a bundle of reinforcing steel onto a reversing truck went badly wrong.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that on 28th May 2015, three agency workers at the Port of Liverpool in Seaforth were loading bundles of rebar onto HGV trailers for onward transfer.
One man was acting as banksman while the other two each operated a fork lift truck to lift the long bundles in tandem.
During the loading procedure a single bundle of rebar weighing 1,924 kg, sitting on the forks of the two trucks, was struck by the reversing HGV’s headboard. This caused it to fall onto the banksman who was standings on the far side by the vehicle’s cab.
The victim sustained multiple fractures, lacerations, scarring and abrasion, ligament reconstruction to his left knee and has undergone four operations, culminating in the amputation of two toes. He has been unable to return to work since the incident.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found no suitable risk assessment relating to the hazards arising from loading bundles of rebar onto reversing flatbed trailers had been carried out. The tandem lifting operation was also not properly planned, supervised or carried out in a safe manner.
The Mersey Docks & Harbour Company Limited of Maritime Centre, Port of Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,593.55.
HSE inspector Rohan Lye said after the hearing: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to ensure they provide safe methods of working and a safe working environment. If suitable controls had been in place the serious physical injuries sustained by this worker could easily have been prevented.”