£36K Fine for Food Company after Mixer Falls on Worker

A company which makes desserts has been prosecuted after a worker was injured when moving equipment across a yard. The worker and a colleague were relocating a large mixer within the workplace which was placed on a pallet truck but not attached to it. His colleague was pulling the pallet truck and the worker was walking alongside it, supporting the mixer. As the pallet truck turned, the mixer toppled onto the worker, causing five broken bones in one of his feet. Mademoiselle Desserts Corby Ltd was fined £36,000 and ordered to pay costs.

The accident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Inspectors found that no risk assessment had been completed for this activity, and the forks of the pallet truck were not being used – instead the mixer was placed onto a damaged plastic pallet and was resting on top of the forks.

5 tips to help ensure items and equipment are moved safely around the workplace:

  1. Do a risk assessment for activities concerning moving items within the workplace. Consider the load to be moved, the weight of it and the distance it is to be carried. Think about what might go wrong – for example if the item was to move or fall, or if persons involved with the activity could be crushed or struck.
  2. Think about the best way of moving the load. To avoid manual handling issues, consider using equipment such as a trolley or pallet truck. Check that these are in a good condition before using, and that they can safely manage both the size, weight and type of load intended to be moved.
  3. Consider the local environment before attempting to move the load. Check the ground for potholes, steps and slopes, and any local factors such as rain water or substances such as chemical spills. Plan the route first before undertaking the activity.
  4. Attach the load securely. If a pallet is to be used, secure the load centrally to the pallet with appropriate fastenings. Make sure the pallet is correctly attached to the forks. Don’t rely on workers to support the load, in case it were to fall on them. Make sure your plan includes information on how the load will be safely placed down on arrival at the intended location.
  5. Talk through the activity with those involved in it, and make sure everyone understands how to load, move and unload the item safely.

The above accident could easily have been prevented if the activity had been clearly thought through and planned to ensure it was carried out in a safe manner. Check today that any activities concerning moving your equipment and other items are properly planned and executed safely.