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Crush injury costs IBC Vehicles £180,000

  • 09 July 2014
  • By Roger Brown

Van manufacturer IBC Vehicles has been told to pay nearly £180,000 in fines and costs for safety failings after a crane operator suffered severe crush injuries in a lifting operation at the company’s factory.

In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Luton Crown Court was told how the worker, who does not wish to be named, was working at the firm’s press shop at its plant in Kimpton Road, Luton, in July 2011.

The employee had lowered an eight-tonne die block – used to make van parts – into its storage position, and was unhooking it from the crane’s lifting chains when the 50-tonne crane started to move, dragging the block towards the worker and crushing him against another block behind him.

He suffered multiple injuries including fractures to the upper left arm, breastbone, right collarbone and ribs, as well as collapsed lungs.

The crane operator was hospitalised for two weeks and has had numerous operations since, but has not been able to return to work.

HSE found a protective frame around the control levers of the crane designed to prevent inadvertent operation was missing.
There were also serious shortcomings with the company’s maintenance of lifting equipment and management of lifting operations, including the provision of training and information for crane operators.

The court was told that a number of the 10 cranes in the press shop at the factory had previously missed annual examinations by as much as 12 months, and that some failed to have identified maintenance issues acted upon.

In addition, the provision of training and information for employees was inadequate to ensure that lifting operations were carried out safely.

IBC Vehicles was fined a total of £155,000 and ordered to pay £22,795 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and two breaches of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states that every employer shall ensure work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

After the case, HSE inspector Stephen Manley said: “There were multiple failings on the part of IBC Vehicles Ltd. Cranes had not been maintained or inspected properly, operators had not been given adequate information or regular training, and lifting operations were not properly planned, including in particular the systems for daily checks on the equipment, to ensure the lifts were then carried out safely.”


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