Forfar firm fined after safety failure

Forfar Galvanisers Limited's premises in Carseview Road, where the incident occurred.
Forfar Galvanisers Limited's premises in Carseview Road, where the incident occurred.

A Forfar company has been fined £7,000 after an agency worker suffered serious leg injuries when a half-tonne A-frame slipped and fell onto him from a forklift truck.

Robert Ramsey, 19, of Dundee, an agency worker, had been working at Forfar Galvanisers Ltd premises in Carseview Road, for four months when the incident happened on November 20, 2013.

Forfar Sheriff Court heard that Mr Ramsey had been helping colleagues move the 3.82 metres by 1.6 metres A-frame which was lifted and moved outside, where it was raining, on the forks of a forklift truck. It was then turned and was being moved into the correct position with Mr Ramsey and another colleague on opposite sides of the A-frame to steady it.

The unsecured frame began to slip and despite repeated warnings from the forklift driver, and although his colleague heeded them moving out of the way, Mr Ramsey took hold of the A-frame to steady it, but it continued to slip and fell onto him. Mr Ramsey suffered serious injuries to his legs including bruised bones, trapped nerves, muscle and tissue damage. He was off work for several months and could only walk short distances. He has now made a full recovery.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed the company did not have in place a safe system of work for the task. Although it had developed a procedure for moving ungainly loads following a similar incident in 2007, this had not been implemented.

Since the incident the company, which pleaded guilty, has instructed that loads should be carried flat rather than suspended and has commissioned a specialist company to investigate whether a clamping attachment could be used to enable loads to be secured to the forks of the forklift.

Niall Miller, HSE Principal Inspector, said: “It was clear there was a risk of death or serious injury if the frame fell from the forklift, particularly as the company was aware of previous incidents of loads falling. Had the company acted on this and the advice of HSE, Mr Ramsey would not have been injured.”