Playing a part in an incident that injures an employee is an offence that is likely to see companies punished - and that is exactly the case with Shropshire concrete firm Elite Precast Concrete.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the company after investigating an accident in which worker Tomasz Kosmacz, 38, suffered serious leg injuries. He was hit by a forklift truck while working at the organisation's base in Telford.
At the time of the incident that caused his injuries, he had been using a bucket to collect excess concrete from the truck. He was working extremely closely to the vehicle when he was suddenly struck by it.
Elite Precast Concrete appeared at Telford Magistrates' Court last week where it was revealed by the HSE that it had found a document at its headquarters that revealed any bucket being used to collect concrete should have been placed on a pallet. Instead, it had been positioned directly on the forks of the truck.
"Elite Precast Concrete 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," explained HSE inspector Katharine Walker.
"The company had allowed an unsafe custom and practice to develop. There was no effective segregation of vehicles and pedestrians."
Such a case could now serve as a vital reminder to companies working in similar industries or at premises that share features with the concrete firm's base that safety must be a priority at all times. Not only is there a moral responsibility to care for the welfare of employees, businesses may find they are punished with fines and other penalties if they do not adhere to the rules.
Elite Precast Concrete was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was also told it must pay costs of almost £2,900, indicating just how costly such an offence can be.