"Freight Company Worker Sufferers severe back injury" Asons Solicitors Comment

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According to the HSE, a Suffolk-based freight company has been sentenced for a series of safety breaches, after a forklift truck toppled and spilled its load onto a worker, breaking his back. (1)

Neil Jennings, 56, of Ipswich, was waiting for his trailer to be loaded in the Eagle Freight Terminal yard of Eagle Freight Terminal Ltd, at its Great Blakenham premises, when one of the forklifts doing the loading hit a pothole. The vehicle lurched sideways, shedding its pallets and boxes, one of which hit Mr Jennings. (1)

As a result of the accident, Mr Jennings suffered numerous multiple fractures to the vertebrae of his upper and middle back. Mr Jennings can now only undertake light duties, and can no longer carry out everyday tasks without pain and discomfort. (1)

The accident was immediately investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Eagle Freight Terminal on the 15th August 2013 Ltd at Ipswich Magistrates' Court. (1) (Court Reference Number (E032/13)

The HSE found that the yards surfacing was damaged; the potholes had been the subject of complaints by employees for a significant period of time. There was very little management of traffic movements throughout the yard, and there was no segregation between the workplace transport and pedestrians. (1)

The court heard that the HSE had served a variety of Improvement Notices to Eagle Freight. After the incident, they were required to improve the condition of the yard, and to introduce systems of control, which would allow vehicles and pedestrians to navigate safely through the site. Despite two extensions of time, the suggestions had yet to be implemented, and further inspections indicated that neither of the Notices had been adhered to, and no changes had been made. (1)

Commenting on the accident, Thomas Fairclough, Asons Executive at Asons Solicitors stated that:

“Any health and safety compensation awarded as a result of this accident at work can’t undo the damage caused; this accident could have been easily avoided had the suggested health and safety improvements been implemented. In this case, they were not”

Ipswich Magistrates' Court heard that the company had been notified that similar changes needed to be made, as far back as 2002/3, especially regarding the lack of control of workplace transport. (1)

Eagle Freight Terminal Ltd of Lodge Lane, Great Blakenham, Ipswich, was fined a total of £50,000, after pleading guilty to multiple health and safety failings. (1)

Commenting on the case, HSE Inspector Paul Grover, said:

"This was an entirely preventable injury caused by persistent disregard by Eagle Freight of basic safety measures. The company allowed the yard's surface to deteriorate so badly that forklift trucks were regularly destabilised when carrying loads.

"There was also no system to allow vehicles and pedestrians to move safely around each other and the forklift truck driver had not been given suitable training which resulted in him using unsafe work practices where the truck was driven with the forks and load lifted.

"The company's subsequent repeated failure to meet the requirements of the two improvement notices demonstrated their complete disregard for their legal responsibility to keep their employees, and non-employees visiting the site, safe.

Asons Solicitors suggest that if someone would like to learn more about the consequences of an accident at work, or if they would like to better understand the Health and Safety Claims process, that information is available at http://www.asons.co.uk, or via an expert helpline on 01204 521 133.

(1)    Freight company fined £50,000 after working hit by falling pallets - http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2013/rnn-e-eagle-freight-terminal.htm – HSE April 2013

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About Asons Solicitors:
Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

For further information contact:
Email: info@asons.co.uk
Website: http://www.asons.co.uk

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Imran Akram
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since: 01/2013
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