£1m Fine for Manufacturer after Worker is Crushed to Death

The fatality was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which established that the work had not been properly planned before the job started. It also found that the company had failed to ensure that the workers involved in moving and lifting the machine had received the correct training and had the necessary experience to carry out such a dangerous lift as this. The company had not assessed where the centre of gravity of the machine lay, which resulted in an unsafe system of work being followed.

5 Tips to Protect Your Workers from Being Crushed by Loads 

1. Carry out a risk assessment for every work activity, considering how a worker could potentially be crushed – think about how a load could fall, move position, become unsteady or overturn. Mitigate any identified risks by working out the best way to both lift and secure the load, perhaps by using a hoist suitable for the task.

2. Plan the work from start to finish, including what equipment is needed at each stage, and ensure that everyone involved in the movement of the load knows the steps to take and in what order.

3. Train workers to move loads correctly. Make sure they know to always find out the weight of the load before starting to move it, and where its centre of gravity is. Never let anyone move a heavy load alone – ensure they are supervised at all times.

4. Secure loads properly, for example, on pallets, to prevent them from slipping. Use straps or ropes as appropriate. Make sure that workers stay out of the ‘fall zone’, especially when the load is in transit.

5. Always check the safe working load (SWL) of the lifting equipment used, and any lifting accessories such as chains and slings. Ensure your lifting equipment is under a scheme of thorough examination and inspection to identify any defects or problems.

Before attempting any sort of lifting or moving operation, always make sure that the work has been properly planned, and is carried out by competent workers – taking time to check could prevent an accident like the one above from happening.


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