Packaging manufacturer fined £150,000 for unsafe stacking

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted plastic packaging manufacturer Sirap UK over the unsafe stacking of flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) after a worker was injured at the firm’s County Durham site.

A worker was using a forklift truck near a row of FIBCs on 12 September 2017 when they reversed the vehicle and tore a bulk bag. While they were attempting to repair the tear, an FIBC weighing about a tonne at the top of the stack fell on the worker. The employee was left with several fractures to their pelvis and legs.

HSE investigators determined that the firm stacked FIBCs to a height of 2.2 m and  found that arrangements at the site, for the everyday use such as storage, reuse and repair of FIBCs, created a risk of injury.

Sirap UK, which had a turnover of more than £33 million in 2018, admitted breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and Regulation 10(4) of the Work at Height Regulations at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court.

“There are many companies using this type of container and they should note that the use of FIBCs requires safe stacking formations and safe systems for reuse and repair,” HSE inspector Clare Maltby said after the hearing. “Had the company adopted the correct standards, this worker would not have been injured.”