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Scrap firm sentenced over forklift injuries

A scrap metal firm and its director have been sentenced after a worker suffered severe injuries to his left arm when it became stuck in a forklift truck.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Ultimate Traders Ltd and company director Nasir Rashid after a worker was trapped for two hours while the emergency services tried to free his arm from the vehicle’s mast (pictured) at Levenshulme Trading Estate, Manchester, in November 2013.

Ultimate Traders

Gap where arm was trapped

The HSE said the worker had been told to stand on the forks on the truck, driven by Rashid, to help move scrap cars into the back of a shipping container bound for Pakistan, where the metal would be sold.

The company failed to report the incident to the HSE for nearly three months, despite being told on several occasions that this was a legal requirement, Manchester Crown Court was told.

Rashid was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay costs of £750 after pleading guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

“It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees,” the legislation reads.

The worker suffered severe crush injuries including nerve damage to his left arm and was in hospital for nearly two months. He still visits Manchester Royal Infirmary for treatment and has been unable to return to work.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Taylor the incident “could easily have been avoided”.

“Ultimate Traders and Nasir Rashid had a legal responsibility to make sure the worker stayed safe, but instead he was instructed to climb on to the forks of a forklift truck to move scrap cars into a container,” she said.

“Workers should never be allowed to stand directly on the forks because of the risk of them falling or being injured by moving parts on the mast. This case should act as a warning to firms that they will find themselves in court if they do not take the safety of workers seriously.”

Ultimate Traders was given a nominal fine of £2 after discussion concerning the company’s finances. The firm pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 4 (2) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

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