Woman impaled by forklift truck in horror crash at textile firm

A woman was impaled by a forklift truck during a horror crash at a textile firm in Wigan. Another worker was also seriously hurt after falling from a skip during the shocking incident at Profile Patterns Limited. At Manchester Magistrates’ Court, the carpet sample book manufacturer was fined ?20,000 after admitting to breaching health and safety regulations.

The court heard that the incident, which left both workers with ‘serious fractures’, happened after the forklift truck smashed into the skip on July 29, 2019. Three workers had been emptying waste from plastic bins into the skip at the firm’s base, in Makerfield Way, Ince.

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They were using a forklift truck to raise the bins to a height that enabled workers at either side of the truck to manually tip the bins into a skip. But when one bin became trapped between the side of the skip and the forks, the forklift truck driver climbed on top of the skip to free the bin.

The other two employees remained standing at either side of the truck, while another was asked to reverse the forklift truck to help release the bin. However, after reversing, the forklift truck moved forward, crashing into the skip and causing the employee on top to fall. The fork of the truck impaled one of the workers standing at the side of the truck by her right arm.

Both workers sustained serious fractures that required hospital treatment. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has since found that Profile Patterns Limited did not take effective measures to ensure the health and safety of employees in relation to the risks arising from the use and operation of forklift trucks. The company failed to implement a safe system of work and provide adequate instruction and training to employees.

It was discovered that tipping bins into the skip in this way was normal working practice that had taken place over a considerable length of time, which placed employees at ‘significant risk’. At court, Profile Patterns Limited pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The company was fined ?20,000 and ordered to pay costs of ?238. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Emily Osborne said: “The risk of injury from this unsafe working practice was foreseeable and the incident could so easily have been avoided. “Profile Patterns Limited should have put in place a number of safety measures including appropriate segregation of vehicles and pedestrians and a safe system of work for emptying the bins.

“Those in control of work also have a responsibility to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in order to carry out work safely.”

Profile Patterns Limited has been approached for comment.

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