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23 September
Sep 23
23rd September 2017

A Grantham company has been fined £300,000 at Lincoln Crown Court for a breach of health and safety regulations following the death of a forklift truck driver. Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres Ltd, based at Gonerby Hill Foot, had previously admitted a charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees following the death of Stephen Woollas in July 2014. The company was also ordered to pay £25,000 towards prosecution costs. Mr Woollas, who was not wearing a seat belt, died after the forklift truck he was driving tipped over crushing him underneath it. Alex Stein, prosecuting, said that although the company had health and safety policies in place requiring workers to wear seat belts they did not enforce it. The investigation into the death of Mr Woollas revealed that the warning device on the seat belt which should have sounded if the belt was not being worn had been disabled. Instead the belt had been clipped into the latching mechanism behind the seat. Other forklift trucks at the premises, which remoulds tyres, also had the warning device disabled. The company also failed to enforce a policy that forklift driver should only use reverse when their view going forwards was obstructed. At the time of the fatal incident Mr Woollas was moving a load of tyres while travelling forward but was unable to fully see what was ahead of him. Mr Stein said: “Mr Woollas was driving a fork-lift truck at the company’s site when the truck tipped onto its side and he was crushed under it. “He was driving without a seat belt carrying a load of tyres. There was a restricted view available to him as he was driving forwards. The requirement to reverse in the fork-lift truck wasn’t being enforced. “The forklift truck became destabilised and tipped over. The investigator is confident that the destabilising came from riding over a tyre. Because Mr Woollas was driving forward with a stack in front of him he had no chance of seeing anything. “As the fork-lift truck fell over Mr Woollas was trapped. Workers did their very best to free him and an ambulance was called but tragically he did not survive.” Mr Woollas’ daughter Emily, in a statement read to the court, said: “So many of us have so many beautiful memories of my dad. His sudden and tragic death has left a huge void in all our lives.” Malcolm Galloway, for Vacu-Lug, said “The company accepts by its plea that it did not do sufficient. “This is not a bad company. It had taken health and safety very, very seriously and was doing its utmost to make sure that its employees worked within a safe environment. “This was a company with systems in place to try and be proactive with health and safety. This is not a case of total failure by the company due to disregard and not caring.” He said the firm, which has a current turnover of £17 million, has a deficit in its pension fund. “This is a company that is in a genuinely difficult financial position most of which is not the responsibility of the current management.” Source Lincolnshire Reporter...

| | General Articles, Personal Injury
4 September
Sep 4
4th September 2017

A worker suffered serious injuries when he fell while carrying out maintenance work at a Lincolnshire seafood processing factory, a jury was told. Virginius Kurselis was standing inside a box held up by a forklift truck when he fell seven metres while painting at the Fishgate Ltd factory at Brookenby near Market Rasen. Mr Kurselis spent four weeks on hospital and underwent two operations as a result of injuries he received as a result of the fall in July 2013. His left leg was shattered and his right foot was broken. He also suffered a cracked pelvis and a dislocated right arm. Robert Stevenson, prosecuting, said that Mr Kurselis was employed as a packer but was asked to paint gutterings and down pipes in preparation for a visit from a customer. Mr Kurselis initially used a ladder but changed and stood in a box which was lifted by a forklift truck to the required height. Mr Stevenson said: “Unfortunately the box tipped forward and Mr Kurselis fell. “Mr Kurselis was employed as a factory operative. His role was as a packer but on the day he was asked to do some painting. “The company was expecting a visit from a new customer and wanted the building to look more presentable. “He wasn’t given any training as to how to safely carry out that work. “There was an absence of any instruction and there was an absence of any supervision.” Fishgate Ltd of Brookenby Business Park, Binbrook, denied a charge of failing to discharge a duty of health, safety and welfare of an employee. The firm was convicted by a jury following a short trial and fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £19,032 prosecution costs The company is currently in administration and was not represented in court. Recorder Paul Mann QC, passing sentence, said: “Mr Kursilis was given no advice as to how to do this safely and no equipment apart from a tin of paint and a brush. “This was an accident waiting to happen. “He was very badly injured. He could so easily have been killed.”   Lincolnshire Reporter...

| | General Articles, Personal Injury
26 August
Aug 26
26th August 2017

  Five people, including two children, have been taken to hospital following a crash on the A18.   The incident happened at around 5.15pm on Wednesday, July 26 after a two vehicle crash was reported close to Hall Farm in Melton Ross Barnetby, near Humberside Airport.   A grey Nissan Navara and a silver coloured Audi estate car collided and a road closure was required to enable the attendance of emergency services.   The injuries to the children are thought to be minor, however one person is believed to have sustained serious injuries.   A man believed to be the driver of the Nissan left the scene of the collision and enquiries were undertaken to locate him without success.   Those enquiries are ongoing.   The road re-opened at 10.30pm.   Anyone with information is asked to call Humberside Police on 101 quoting log 397 of July 26.   Humberside Police originally said that the Audi driver fled the scene of the crash. However, they have now said that they believe the Nissan driver left the scene.   Source – Lincolnshire Reporter...

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