The Health and Safety Executive has clamped down on a Runcorn based boat manufacturer after an employee had his head crushed against the top of a lorry container.

HSE ruled that loading procedures were unsafe and a risk assessment had not been carried out.

Pyranha Mouldings Ltd, of Aston Lane South in Runcorn, was fined £50,000 following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which uncovered a failure to provide adequate training and a number of other safety issues.

The worker, who was on site at the company’s factory on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate at the time of the incident, was left with a torn ear, three chipped teeth and in need of stitches after following the company’s normal procedure for loading boats into containers.

The 49 year old employee from Northwich, who requested anonymity, was lying on top of a stack of kayaks on 2 March 2011 in order to pull the last ones into a container.

However, as he tried to climb from the container into a cage where he would be taken to ground level by a forklift truck, the forks were raised too early and he was crushed against the top of the container, causing multiple injuries.

Chester Crown Court heard that despite manifold requests from employees to build a ramp to facilitate the loading process, the company continued to use this method of loading for several years.

A subsequent investigation by the HSE ruled that the kayak loading system encouraged by Pyranha Mouldings Ltd was unsafe, that employees had not been provided with adequate training and that the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment.

It was also noted that there was poor communication between the injured worker and the forklift driver, and that the work was not properly planned.

After pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the company was ordered to pay £6,562 in costs on top of the £50,000 fine.

Commenting on the case, Donna Hodge, a specialist in workplace accidents at Lampkin & Co Solicitors, said:

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the primary piece of legislation covering work-related health and safety in the UK, helping to ensure the safety of workers and prevent industrial accidents.

“Under the Act, it is a legal requirement for manufacturers to undertake a risk assessment of all stages of product manufacture and to provide workers with adequate training for safe use of machines and equipment.

“If your employer has breached their legal responsibility to provide a safe working environment, suitable training and appropriate safety equipment or you were injured due to the negligence of another member of staff you may be entitled to compensation.”

Read more about how Lampkin & Co Solicitors can pursue an accident at work claim on your behalf.