Felixstowe company fined £9,000 after worker suffered life-changing injuries

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court where security officers were assaulted

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court where security officers were assaulted - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A Felixstowe transport company has been fined £9,000 after a worker suffered life-changing injuries when a crate fell on him when he was unloading crates from a container.

The Health and Safety Executive, which brought the prosecution, called the accident “inevitable.”

South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court in Ipswich heard how James Roberts, an employee of Portmans Transport Limited in Bryon Avenue, Felixstowe, was assisting to unload two containers which held two tonne crates of glass mirrors in April 2013.

The second container had no fork pockets or lighting. Therefore Mr Roberts - a warehouse foreman who had only been working for the company for less than three weeks - had to closely guide the forklift truck operator to ensure the forks were in position

Some of the crates were jammed in place and as the fork lift truck operator attempted to dislodge them, one of the crates toppled onto Mr Roberts, pinning him to the side of the container.

The incident has left him with life-changing injuries and he will be unable to work for at least three years.

In addition to the £9,000 fine Portmans Transport Limited was ordered to pay £917 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

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Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Corinne Godfrey said: “This worker was employed by the company for less than three weeks as a warehouse foreman, and although he had previous job experience which involved the maintenance and repair of containers, he had never been involved with this type of unloading work known as ‘devanning’.

“This incident was inevitable. Neither worker had seen the procedures manual or any risk assessments/method statements relating to the unloading of containers.

“The company failed to plan what should happen when it was identified that loads were not able to be readily offloaded by forklift truck.

“It’s essential that before any work tasks are carried out, the relevant risks should be identified and appropriate control measures put in place to protect against them.”