A Leicester food company which allowed a fork lift truck to be used as a man lift has been handed a hefty fine.
On 4th January 2011, Jaisukh Chandarana, a partner at Simtom Food Products, instructed an 18-year-old worker to unload barrels, stored in layers with plywood separating each layer from a container.
The teenager was lifted on a pallet on a fork lift truck to climb onto a stack of pallets near the container doors. From there he entered the container and dragged the barrels onto the pallet held at height by the forklift.
While stepping from one pallet to another, he fell two metres to the ground, resulting in severe bruising to his abdomen and sprains to his shoulder and wrist. As a result he was off work for a several weeks.
Mr Chandarana pleaded guilty in court to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £7,500 with costs of £1,380.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Alison Cook said: "Had a safe system of unloading been used then this incident would not have happened. Lifting people up on pallets on a forklift is utterly unacceptable because of the potential consequences of a fall. It was pure luck that a young man was not more seriously injured.
"Since the incident, Mr Chandarana has contracted out unloading to a firm with a level loading dock to eliminate the risk of a fall. It is a pity someone had to be hurt for this to be chosen."