Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Freight and Logistics Warehouses Can Be Dangerous Places as Latest Prosecution Testifies

Supply Chain Group Hit with 10,000 Pound Fine after Breaching Health and Safety Guidelines
Shipping News Feature

UK – Anyone operating in a busy freight warehouse environment knows the problems of combining safety with efficiency and speed, and will be familiar with the necessity of carrying on alteration and improvement works ‘out of hours’ when perhaps safety guidelines are relaxed, and regular supervisory staff missing. In such circumstances the essentials of properly prepared risk assessments and method statements become all the more important and now supply chain management group Ceva Logistics has been prosecuted after two employees were left badly injured when they were knocked nearly five metres to the ground.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident fully and found that Ceva had not planned the job effectively and so failed to provide its employees with either a safe method of work or clear supervision. The two men, who wish to remain anonymous, were working on the Bank Holiday weekend of 5 May 2013 for Ceva at a site in Manston, Kent. They used a truck to raise them up so they could photograph the improvements they had been working on when the machine was hit by an overhead crane and the two fell to the floor below. One of the two suffered a broken jaw, 11 broken teeth, a fractured elbow and a broken pelvis. He is still unable to fully straighten his left arm and has needed reconstructive surgery on his jaw. The second worker gashed his leg, suffered whiplash and required ten stitches for a head wound.

The Margate Magistrates’ court heard how the two men, one 45 years old and the other 47, were part of a six-strong team tasked with painting lines on the floor of a firm’s despatch area. They had to remove all the generator sets before painting could take place, and then replace the sets. The two injured men were taking pictures to record the results of the job when their truck was struck by the overhead crane, which was putting the last sets back into place. HSE Inspector Robert Hassell, speaking after the hearing, said:

“One of the two employees received life-changing injuries, the injuries to his left arm and face will always be with him. But there could have been even graver consequences of what was a preventable fall. Ceva Logistics should have made sure that their employees were fully aware of the safe methods to be used to carry out the job and that there was effective supervision on site. But they didn’t and two workers were badly injured as a result.

“Falls from height were the most common cause of fatalities last year, accounting for almost a third of deaths among workers. Regardless of the size and duration of tasks undertaken, it is essential companies have suitable systems of work to safeguard their employees.”

Responding to a request from the Handy Shipping Guide a Ceva spokesperson commented:

“Safety is at the heart of Ceva’s operating culture, and given this, the company is extremely concerned and disappointed that this incident occurred and that two of our employees were injured as a result. Since the incident, Ceva has taken additional steps to prevent this from happening in the future, which was recognised by the Court in yesterday’s hearing.”

Ceva Logistics of Excelsior Road, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,491 in costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.