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Incorrectly stacked load falls on port worker

Associated British Ports (ABP) has been fined after a 600 kg bag of fertiliser fell and struck an employee at the Port of Ipswich.

The worker sustained multiple fractures, a dislocated ankle and knee, and back injuries when a flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC) bag of ammonium nitrate toppled over, Ipswich Magistrates’ Court was told. He was off work for 13 weeks. 

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) investigation into the accident, which happened on 16 May 2016, found the company had not followed its own risk assessment covering pallet stacking. The FIBC bags had been stacked directly on top of one another rather than in a pyramid fashion, which the HSE said is the “recognised industry standard”.  

It also found ABP had failed to review its stacking procedure despite previous bag spills and stack collapses at its Ipswich and King’s Lynn docks. 

ABP, which owns and operates 21 ports in England, Scotland and Wales, managing around 25% of the UK’s sea-borne trade, pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £666,000 and ordered to pay almost £8,690 in costs.  

After the hearing HSE inspector Tania van Rixtel said: “The incident could have been avoided if the company had followed their own risk assessments and reviewed their systems following previous bag collapses.”

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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