Two Hertfordshire companies have been prosecuted for blatantly ignoring a safety warning and continuing a dangerous working practice in clear view of a visiting inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The inspector witnessed a forklift operator lifting a worker in a wooden platform on the blades of the machine during a visit to Connexions (UK) Plc and TV Bed Ltd, who share the same premises at Travellers Close, Welham Green, on 17 May last year.
Watford Magistrates’ Court heard on 22 October that the employees were attempting to move waste materials into a skip following a recent warehouse refurbishment.
Photographs were taken that clearly showed the two workers – warehouse manager Jeff Minards, who was driving the forklift, and Paul Martin, who was on the platform – were working unsafely and risking serious injury.
This was despite HSE having served a Prohibition Notice against the companies just a month earlier, on 13 April, after heavy cases from a shipping container were unloaded in exactly the same way.
Connexions (UK) Plc and TV Bed Ltd, of Unit 3, Travellers Close, both pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. They were each fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £3,684.
Jeff Minards, of Marne Avenue, New Southgate, London, and Paul Martin, of Hawkes Road, Witham, Essex, both pleaded a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were each fined £250 with individual costs of £873.