A business has been fined and left with a bill for more than £45,000 after admitting negligence when a member of its workforce had his leg crushed by steel beams.
South Kesteven District Council prosecuted Losberger UK, an event structure construction company, on December 9 after a male worker suffered a broken leg as the structures, weighing 41 stone, landed on his body.
Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard the beams had been returned to site at their Long Bennington base on July 11 last year from an external event.
The victim was one of two staff moving the beams into their storage position when the incident occurred. He had not been trained to do this.
The arc beams were aimed to be placed on the top rack of a cantilever rack system and loaded onto two racks underneath with a fork lift truck.
Its straps were cut by the victim allowing the two beams to land on his leg, snapping his tibia and fibula.
Prosecutors said the firm’s high turnover of staff led to initial health and safety briefings for staff only being verbal and superficial. Staff who stayed at the firm longer than three months then received further training. The victim had only been employed with the firm a few weeks when the incident occurred.
A foreman who left the firm days before the incident also described in interview thefirm’s health and safety protocol “as an accident waiting to happen”.
The firm pleaded guilty to a contravention of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at an earlier hearing and was fined £25,000, ordered to pays costs of £20,374.86 and a £175 surcharge.
In mitigation, Losberger UK admitted its liability for the incident and that the worker had been badly let down and should never have been tasked with the work by a supervisor. The firm said it has spent £80,000 on health and safety since the accident.
District Judge Peter Veits said: “It’s clear the company greatly regret what happened. It was arguably because of poor management at the site in an operation the victim said he never had training of.
“There were failures in training methods and inductions were scant to say the least. It fell short of the standard required. The senior member of staff should never have placed the victim with the task. A number of workers were exposed and other members of staff could have been put at risk.”
SKDC’s Executive Member for Environment Coun Nick Craft said: “The seriousness of this case highlights how health and safety practices in the workplace are of paramount importance to people’s lives.
“The victim suffered directly as a result of protocol not being in place to protect him and it serves as a stark reminder to all employers in South Kesteven of their responsibilities when running a business.”