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Company fined £12,000 after reversing vehicle crushes employee

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A pharmaceutical company has pled guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for failing to ensure the health and safety of an employee when a reversing lorry crushed an employee's head and chest resulting in severe injury.

The Edinburgh-based business, Macfarlan Smith, pled guilty to contraventions of Section 2(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £12,000.

On September 30, 2011, Alexander Mackenzie, an employee at Macfarlan Smith was working at the company's Wheatfield Road premises in Edinburgh when he attempted to signal a reversing lorry into a loading bay.

The driver did not see him as he was focussed on another individual who was signalling the lorry in and as a result MacKenzie was crushed between the lorry and the loading bay wall.

He suffered crush injuries to his head, face, and chest from which he has now fully recovered.

The case was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found that no suitable and sufficient risk assessment had been carried out for the task, that there was no safe system of work and that the loading bay area not kept clear and free from obstructions.

The accident could have been avoided had reasonably practicable precautions been taken,said the HSE, including identifying a safe position for banking activities to be taken where there could be visual contact between the banksman and driver at all times.

Gary Aitken, head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service health & safety division, said: "Macfarlan Smith accepted liability and the Crown accepted their guilty plea to the contraventions of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

"Since this incident the company has introduced new risk assessments and has put into practice safe systems of work.

"This was an entirely avoidable accident which resulted in the severe injury of an employee that has thankfully had no long lasting effect."
 

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