UK company Hit with £100,000 Fine for dangerous worker/pallet lift

At Ramsgate Harbour in Kent, a serious safety violation has led to significant legal repercussions for European Active Projects Limited. The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £5,730 in costs following an incident on 8 July 2022, where a worker was dangerously positioned on a pallet raised by a forklift truck.

Incident Overview

The unsafe practice was captured on video by a vigilant member of the public, showing an employee standing on a pallet elevated by a forklift. This makeshift platform was used to remove equipment from the deck of a boat, bypassing safer alternatives since the scaffolding had already been removed.

Regulatory Action

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the company for breaching working at height regulations. Their investigation concluded that European Active Projects Limited failed to provide a safe method for the task at hand, exposing workers to unnecessary risk of serious injury or death.

Samuel Brown, an HSE inspector, highlighted the importance of proper planning and supervision in such operations. He emphasised,

“Falls from height are still the biggest cause of fatal accidents involving workers. The risk of workers falling from the pallet and sustaining serious, possibly fatal, injuries should not be ignored. Fortunately, no workers were harmed”

Previous Violations

This was not the company’s first breach of safety regulations. In 2015, European Active Projects Limited, of Chatham Docks, Gillingham Gate, Chatham, Kent, was fined £15,000 for a similar violation when workers were seen walking on stacked containers at Chatham Docks. The repeat offense underscores the necessity for rigorous adherence to safety protocols to prevent workplace accidents.

Safety Takeaways

This incident serves as a crucial reminder for all employers and employees in the industry:

  1. Never use a forklift as a personnel lift: Forklifts are designed to transport materials, not people. Improvised platforms such as pallets can lead to fatal accidents.
  2. Implement Proper Safety Measures: Always use appropriate equipment like scaffolding or aerial work platforms for working at height.
  3. Training and Supervision: Ensure that all workers are adequately trained and supervised to follow safety regulations meticulously.

Always prioritise safety over convenience to ensure every worker returns home unharmed.

For more detailed information, you can read the full article on the HSE website.