Workplace Transport Accident

1 May 2014

A national sweet manufacturer has appeared in court after the fork on a forklift truck pierced a worker’s foot, entering the instep and exiting the bridge, breaking every bone in its path.

The injured employee had been driving a ride-on pallet truck in and was manoeuvring the vehicle very close to the entrance because of a lack of space inside.

He was injured when another worker drove through the plastic strip curtains that hung down over the entrance, and the two vehicles collided.

He subsequently spent nine days in hospital and his foot was eventually saved using large screws. His injury will affect him for the rest of his life and he is unable to return to work or to drive.

The court was told the plastic curtains over the entrance were designed to keep out insects and birds, but they obscured the view of workers going into the warehouse.

The area had also been overcrowded with pallets from two other warehouses while maintenance work was being carried out, which restricted the space drivers had to operate vehicles and increased the flow of traffic.

The HSE investigation heard there had been a collision at the same entrance a few weeks earlier, suffering minor bruising, and there was another collision a couple of days after the incident. On all of these occasions, restricted vision through the curtains was given as a cause by the drivers involved.

The company has since removed the plastic curtains and changed its systems so vehicles and pedestrians can move safely around the site.

The company has since made changes to the layout of the warehouse and systems of work including the installation of proximity alarms, clearly marked traffic routes, better supervision and a new dispatch system. 

Read about this accident on the HSE website.