Alan Burr, 52, worked as a forklift driver at ABC (Grimsby) Ltd’s warehouse at Henderson Quay, Immingham Docks, in Grimsby. On 27 January 2010, he was stacking narrow-banded coils on rolls in batches of four or five, with a gap between each coil. Each coil measured five feet in diameter and weighed approximately one tonne. Mr Burr was standing between two of the rolls to repair damaged wrapping when one of them toppled, causing a domino effect in the stack. He was trapped underneath the fallen stack and died at the scene from crush injuries.
The HSE’s investigation learned that Mr Burr had worked for the company for more than 20 years, and the method for stacking the coils was commonly used by both Mr Burr and his colleagues.
HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham explained that the stacking method was completely unsuitable, as the stacks were unstable because there was nothing holding them in place. She went on to say that the company had failed to identify the risks presented by this method of work, and should have installed coil racks so the items could be stored safely.
“ABC had been storing this type of steel coil since April 2009, but had given no training to employees about how to handle and store them safely. This loss of life could have been avoided if sufficient instruction, training and the provision of inexpensive coil racks – which work on the same simple principle as a toast rack – had been provided by the company.”
ABC (Grimsby) Ltd appeared at Grimsby Crown Court on 17 May and pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974, and reg.3(1) of the MHSWR 1999. In addition to the fine it was ordered to pay £20,000 in costs.
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