£5,000 fine after worker struck by skip

Newcastle-based Skip haulier NA Park has been fined £5,000 for safety failings after a worker suffered serious head injuries when he was struck by a falling skip.

In a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, Newcastle Magistrates’ Court was told how the 45-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, has not returned to work following the incident at the firm’s yard in Brunswick Village in December 2010. On the day of the incident, the worker was sorting through waste when it was noted that skips were covered in frost so the contents were likely to be frozen.

A wagon driver moved a skip into a building to be emptied and sorted, but was unable to empty the frozen load.
The skip was unloaded and left in the building. Another colleague then used a shovel loader to turn the skip upside down to release the frozen waste.

However, as he turned the empty skip back to its upright position, the grab of the shovel, which was gripping the edge of the skip, opened and the skip fell, hitting the worker on the head. He was taken to hospital for treatment with serious head injuries and is still unable to work.

An HSE investigation found the shovel loader did not have suitable equipment fitted to undertake lifting operations and should not have been used. NA Park was also ordered to pay £2,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Woodhall said: “The incident could have been prevented if NA Park had provided suitable work equipment for lifting and turning waste skips.

“Employers are required to ensure that all work equipment is used only for operations and under conditions for which it is suitable.”

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