Concrete worker speared on forklift prongs

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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A Shropshire concrete company has been prosecuted after a worker suffered serious leg injuries when he was hit by a forklift truck.

Tomasz Kosmacz, 38, of Hadley, was responsible for removing excess concrete from moulds at Elite Precast Concrete Ltd’s Telford factory.

Kosmacz was putting the excess concrete in a bucket and then onto the prongs of the forklift.

He was working in close proximity to the forklift, when he was struck by the vehicle.

He suffered multiple foot fractures, needed four screws in his broken ankle and also hurt his knee. He had to have two operations and is still unable to work following the incident on 7 July 2011.

Telford Magistrates heard that the Health and Safety Executive found there was a written instruction in the factory stating the bucket should be placed on a pallet, not directly on the forks.

This had not been translated into Polish for the benefit of the migrant labour the company employed, many of whom, like Kosmacz, did not speak English.

Elite Precast Concrete Ltd, of  Telford, Shropshire pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,897

After the hearing HSE inspector Katharine Walker said: “Had the instruction requiring the use of a pallet to move the waste been translated into Polish and effectively communicated to the workers, Mr Kosmacz would not have had to endure these painful injuries.

“Elite Precast Concrete Ltd took no effective steps to prevent this incident. They relied heavily on migrant labour but lacked the arrangements to allow those workers to enjoy the expected level of safety.

“The company had allowed an unsafe custom and practice to develop. There was no effective segregation of vehicles and pedestrians and the means of transporting the waste concrete was bound to bring the two into contact.

“Mr Kosmacz had been working in this manner for a number of weeks – it was not a single error on a single day; there was an inevitability that someone was going to get hurt.”

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