Truck shipping

Reliable Shipping Ltd fined £400,000 over worker injury

A LOGISTICS company has been fined £400,000 after a worker broke his back falling from a forklift.

The injured man was one of two employees loading a shipping container at Reliable Shipping Limited freight forwarders in the Severalls Industrial Estate, Colchester.

To reach the highest pallets inside the container, the injured man had been lifted onto the forks of the forklift to stack boxes on an already wrapped pallet.

He fell about two feet and landed on the corner of a pallet on the floor, resulting in multiple spinal fractures on September 26, 2019.

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District Judge James King said the installation was “an accident waiting to happen” after he imposed an exorbitant fine on the company for the incident which left the worker with life-changing injuries.

Fine - Reliable Shipping LimitedFine – Reliable Shipping Limited, in Colchester

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that the company had no safe working system for loading and unloading containers.

The watchdog revealed that there was also no proper equipment for working at height.

A risk assessment for working at height had been carried out by the company but it was deemed “not appropriate or sufficient”.

The inspector added that the assessment did not properly assess the work environment or the correct control measures.

Reliable Shipping Limited, of Manyls Industrial Park, Colchester, has admitted breaching section 2(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1974.

He was fined £400,000 by Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay £6,336 in costs after an appeal reduced the original £500,000 fine.

Fine - Reliable Shipping LimitedSentence – Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court

District Judge James King said: “Even those unfamiliar with health and safety would know this was an imminent accident.”

He added: “It is lucky that the injured person was not paralyzed or killed.”

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Carla Barron said: ‘Those who monitor work have a responsibility to undertake appropriate and sufficient risk assessments, design safe working methods and provide the necessary equipment, information, instructions and training for their workers.

“This incident could have been so easily avoided by simply planning the work and providing the right control measures and safe work practices.”