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UK HSE: Employee in a port suffers life changing injuries in clamp truck incident

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fined the a port following an incident in which an employee was seriously injured by a clamp truck. [Similar to a forklift, but instead of forks, a clamp truck has a hydraulic clamp attachment for handling rolls of paper.]

What happened

An employee was hit by a five tonne clamp truck in a paper reel shed.  The employee sustained an open leg fracture and was knocked unconscious. He was subsequently airlifted to hospital and had to have his leg amputated.

What went wrong?

  • There was a failure to ensure pedestrians and vehicles could circulate and operate safely, which put the employee and others at significant risk;
  • Supervisors were frequently working amongst five to six clamp trucks whilst undertaking the supervision of the paper reel unloads;
  • It was found that there had been previous incidents where supervisors had been in close proximity of the vehicle operations on the port and had been hit by vehicles or product.  Investigation found that there had been a review only of the immediate work relating to these incidents.

The HSE inspector noted: “This incident has resulted in life changing injuries in a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to identify the roles of the supervisors in the reel sheds and how the work was actually being undertaken.

They did not learn from the previous incidents involving supervisors and lift trucks to review supervisory activities across the port. 

Pedestrians, whether they are employees or not, should be kept separate from these types of vehicles through physical barriers or safe systems of work that are clear and well supervised.

Every year many people are killed or seriously injured in incidents involving workplace transport, and there are significant risks associated with operating vehicles on ports, particularly when, as in this case, the vehicles have restricted visibility due to the lifting of large paper reels. These risks can be easily controlled using reasonably practicable precautions.”

Press release here.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 2 June 2021
Download: IMCA SF 15/21

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