Royal Mail installed warehouse barrier after foot crushing
Thursday 16th June 2016
From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
As we reported last month, reach trucks operated in close proximity to workers who were on foot sorting commercial leaflets at the bundling tables. Here, leaflets were weighed, packed together and put into cages which had to be rolled into storage lanes ready for collection by delivery vehicles.
The pallet racking area was located on the other side of the warehouse. Reach trucks operated in this space, either taking pallets out of the racking system or putting pallets back. The storage lanes and racking space were divided by a central aisle.
On 7 March 2014, a worker rolled one of the cages into its designated lane. The warehouse was particularly busy and many of the lanes were filled to the end with cages. This restricted the worker's view and as he stepped back into the central aisle, walked into the path of a reach truck. His foot was run over and he sustained broken bones.
"Royal Mail didn't have a system in place to separate pedestrians from vehicle traffic," said Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Bose Gabriel. "They had carried out a risk assessment but it was not suitable or sufficient and it did not determine how effective segregation could have been achieved."
She continued: "What they should have done, and what they did do eventually, was install a solid barrier in the middle of aisle so reach trucks would be operating on one side and people working on foot on the other side. For a company of that stature it's something that you would expect them to have picked up on and put in place."
The solid barrier does not continue to the very end of the warehouse, leaving a small gap for the cages to be rolled through.
When applying the sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences, Judge Carey determined that the company's culpability was medium, harm category 4 (seriousness of harm risked: level C; medium likelihood). The company was a large organisation, putting the starting point for the fine at £50,000 with a category range between £50,000 and £350,000. It was fined £50,000 plus costs of £10,406.
The HSE's investigation revealed that the employee was not wearing steel tow cap boots at the time of the accident because personal protective equipment (PPE) standards were not properly monitored by the warehouse's managers. The executive found that workers were allowed to order their own PPE from a central ordering system, which listed two different pairs of safety boots but did not specify which pair had steel toe caps.
Following the accident Royal Mail changed its PPE procurement process at the warehouse and today the ordering is carried out by the managers to ensure all employees have the appropriate footwear.
On 24 December 2014, J. & J Currie was delivering and offloading a vehicle from a trailer at Galloway Forest, when the hydraulic ramp developed a fault and failed to lower.Andrew Adams, who was accompanied by a delivery driver, attempted to carry out a repair by removing a valve. However, this caused hydraulic pressure to be released and the ramp collapsed on the 61 year old.A ratchet strap, used to secure the ramp, also failed due to its poor condition, Ayr Sheriff Court heard.
The incident happened at Wootton Bassett junction in Wiltshire on 7 March 2015. The train stopped almost 700 m after the signal, across the busy high speed junction on the Great Western mainline. An accident did not occur, however a collision between the steam locomotive and another train was narrowly avoided. Both trains were carrying about 750 people in total.
Derby Crown Court heard how on 26 November 2013 Matthew Lambert, 39, was standing at the back of the road sweeper to access the refuelling point when a tipper lorry reversed into him. He was crushed between the two vehicles and died from catastrophic head injuries. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there were no marked or identified vehicle and pedestrian routes, there were no rules or control of reversing manoeuvres, and the lighting at the site was poor and below the required standard.
On 12 January 2015 a Commercial Body Specialists worker was maneuvering the 18-tonne vehicle at the company’s workshop in Stoke-on-Trent. As he did so he struck two co-workers, pinning them between the moving lorry and two stationary vehicles. One worker sustained pelvis and rib fractures and internal bladder and kidney lacerations, while the other’s legs were crushed. A third employee managed to jump out of the way.
The accident happened at Royal Mail’s bundling centre in Rochester, Kent, on 7 March 2014, when a worker stepped out into an aisle and his foot was crushed by the truck. He was not wearing steel-capped safety boots and sustained broken bones. Pedestrians and vehicles operated in the warehouse without segregation. The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) investigation found that the workplace transport was not organised to ensure that both could circulate safely.
On 20 December 2014, Muhammed Zohaib Yasin was observing another employee carrying out repair work on a Vauxhall Corsa.Yasin was at the front of the car adding antifreeze to the engine, when the mechanic he was working with opened the driver’s door and turned on the ignition. The vehicle shot forward trapping and crushing the 27-year-old.An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the car had no defects but it had been left in gear with the handbrake off.