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Sweet firm fined £120,000 after forklift truck spears worker’s foot

A national sweet company has been fined £120,000 after an employee had his foot crushed by a forklift truck.

Forty-eight-year-old Kevin Lowe is now only able to walk short distances with the use of a stick after the incident at Tangerine Confectionery Ltd in Blackpool.

The forklift truck pierced Mr Lowe’s foot, entering the instep and exiting the bridge, breaking every bone in its path on 19th September 2012.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the incident was one of three collisions in the same location at the factory within a three-month period.

Preston Crown Court was told Mr Lowe, from Blackpool, had been driving a ride-on pallet truck in a warehouse at the firm’s Vicarage Lane plant, and was manoeuvring the vehicle very close to the entrance because of a lack of space inside.

He was injured when another worker drove through the plastic strip curtains that hung down over the entrance, and the two vehicles collided.

After spending nine days in hospital, his foot was eventually saved using large screws. His injury will affect him for the rest of his life and he is unable to return to work or to drive.

The HSE investigation heard that Mr Lowe had been involved in one of two other collisions at the same entrance a few weeks earlier. On all of these occasions, restricted vision through the curtains was given as a cause by the drivers involved.

The company has since removed the plastic curtains and changed its systems so vehicles and pedestrians can move safely around the site.

Tangerine Confectionery Ltd was also ordered to pay £9,538 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Michael Mullen said: “Mr Lowe has suffered a horrific injury that will affect him for life because Tangerine Confectionery failed to implement effective traffic management at its Vicarage Lane warehouse

“The company has since made changes to the layout of the warehouse and systems of work including the installation of proximity alarms, clearly marked traffic routes, better supervision and a new dispatch system.

“If these had been in place at the time of the incident then the injuries suffered by Mr Lowe could have been avoided.”

If you have suffered a personal injury, call PM Law solicitors in Sheffield on 0114 2965444.

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