Middleton man’s leg amputated after 200kg fish tank falls on him – Bolton van hire firm prosecuted

By Danielle Wainwright

A Bolton van hire company has been prosecuted after an employee was forced to have his leg amputated after a 200kg fish tank fell on top of him.

The Middleton man has since been unable to work at Alloy Bodies Ltd. since the accident three years ago and was forced to have his right leg amputated and pins inserted into his left leg after both his limbs were broken.

The tank had been made by the company’s bespoke department for one of its directors and had been loaded onto the back of a van.

However it fell from the forklift truck after not being securely fastened to the pallet before it was lifted. The size had also made it difficult for the workers to move around.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the accident at work had not been planned, supervised or carried out safely.

Solicitor Thomas Fairclough said: “These injuries have occurred because Alloy Bodies Ltd. did not do enough to protect their employees from the risks involved with moving an item of this size, despite being fully aware of the risks involved.

“Fortunately, although severe, these injuries were not fatal. These injuries were sustained because Alloy Bodies Ltd failed to plan the move in advance, and inappropriate equipment was provided.

“An accident at work, like this, could have easily have been avoided, had the correct health and safety procedures been implemented, in this case, they weren’t.”

Alloy Bodies Ltd, of Clifton Street, Miles Platting, was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £56,621 in costs after being found guilty of a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

HSE Inspector Alex Farnhill said: “This was an entirely preventable incident which resulted in an employee having to have part of his leg amputated. His whole life has been affected by the shortcomings of this company.

“No effort was made to plan the work in advance, despite it being a highly unusual activity for employees at the factory. The firm should have considered the risks and found a safe way of moving the fish tank.

“If it had been secured to a pallet and loaded onto a larger vehicle, rather than a van, then the terrible injuries the worker suffered could have been avoided.”

Picture courtesy of Reggie Alvey via Flickr, with thanks.

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