Potentially dangerous manual handling work should have been avoided

W A Bowler Limited of Llanelli in Wales has been prosecuted and fined for contravening the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. The company failed to avoid the need for for manual handling operations during the installation of  block and beam flooring on the 10th March 2010.

Two workers were working on installing the floor at a care home in Swansea. The men lifted a 174 kg concrete beam using lifting straps to manually hoist the beam into position when one man released his end of the beam causing it to fall.

A ’see-saw’ effect caused the end of the 5m beam to stike the other workman in the groin and throw him upwards. He suffered a hairline fracture to his pelvis and paralysis to the nerve endings in his left leg.

Weight created high degree of risk

W A Bowler Limited of Highmead House, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. It was fined £3, 000 with costs of £4, 847.35.

The court was told that the company ”did not provide suitable equipment for the job to be done safely” resulting in the men undertaking “potentially dangerous manual handling works”.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Hayley Healey said:

“The company neglected its legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their employees.

Injuries as a result of manual handling are widespread and in this case it was entirely foreseeable that serious injury could occur. The degree of risk here was particularly high in terms of the weight involved.

The employer failed to provide equipment which would allow the job to be done safely and, as a result, a worker suffered significant injuries in what was a completely preventable incident.”

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