Metal firm fined after worker broke his leg

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Sheffield metal firm Firth Rixson has been fined £12,000 after an employee was injured after being struck by a container as it was swung by an overhead crane.

Firth Rixson Metals, which has its head office on Johnson Lane, Ecclesfield, has admitted health and safety breaches over the incident which happened in June 2012 at a site operated by the company in Glossop, Derbyshire.

Buxton Magistrates heard a 50-year-old worker at the Shepley Street factory had been using an overhead travelling crane, which runs along rails on the factory roof, to lift an open-sided container carrying more than 50 long metal tubes.

As he lifted the 300kg container, known as a stillage, the tubes slid out, which caused it to swing in the opposite direction. It struck the worker and broke his right leg in two places.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found two plate clamps had been used in diagonally opposite corners of the stillage, which meant it became unstable when it was lifted.

The court was told the company should have found another way of moving the metal tubes using appropriate work equipment so that workers were not put at risk.

The fact that the stillage was open-sided meant that there was a high risk of the tubes sliding out when it was lifted.

Firth Rixson was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £7,024 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Edward Walker said: “I hope this case will act as a warning to companies of the potential dangers of not planning work properly in advance, so that similar injuries can be prevented.”