Firm told to pay £28,000 after worker is injured

A firm in Lakenheath which makes rubber granules has been ordered to pay out more than £25,000 after an agency worker was severely injured when the forklift truck he was driving overturned.

Murfitts Industries Ltd, in Station Road was fined £17,000 for breaching safety measures, and ordered to pay £10,985 in costs, and a £120 victim surcharge, at a hearing at West Suffolk Magistrates’ Court in Bury St Edmunds on Monday. The incident, which took place on September 27, 2012, was brought before court following an investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court heard that Dimitris Tolstovs, 27, was manoeuvring the vehicle with a clamp attachment in a raised position when it overturned and crushed him.

As a result of the incident the man suffered severe injuries including broken ribs and a a punctured lung, and subsequently had to have his spleen removed leaving him on permanent antibiotics.

The court heard that the injured worker had not received any formal training and was not wearing a seatbelt.

The company had previously received enforcement action from HSE concerning its management of workplace transport, and as a result had provided training to their own staff but it had not extended to agency workers.

“The injury could easily have been avoided had Murfitts Industries provided sufficient training and adequate supervision to make sure safety measures were in place,” said Steven Gill, HSE inspector after the hearing.

“Murfitts knew the standard for training because they had provided it for their own staff, but failed to ensure that their agency workers were similarly trained when using the same equipment.”

Eleanor Sanderson, mitigating on behalf of Murfitts Limited, who admitted breaching Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment regulations, said: “They accept it was their responsibility either to ensure staff were properly trained or provide that training themselves.

“This was a result of carelessness rather than a deliberate or reckless breach of the law. It was not an action or lack of action driven by financial motives.”