A concrete production company has been sentenced after a welder lost four fingers during an unsafe lifting operation.
The accident happened at Hanson Quarry Products Europe’s Kings Cross site in London on 27 September 2016 when a large metal gate slipped off the tines of a forklift truck.
Southwark Crown Court was told that the gate was attached to the forklift with a chain on an “O-ring” that was slotted on to the tines with nothing to prevent it sliding off. The gate fell as it was being lifted, slicing the worker’s hand as it fell to the floor.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to plan and supervised the lifting operation to ensure it was safely carried out.
Hanson Quarry Products Europe, which is part of the German multinational building materials supplier HeidelbergCement, admitted breaching reg 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. It has been fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,376.
HSE inspector Jane Wolfenden said: “The use of forklift truck, chain and O-ring was unsafe, putting workers at unnecessary risk. This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply having a competent person plan a safe lifting operation and providing adequate supervision to ensure the lifting operation was carried out safely.”