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Six-figure fine for packaging company

04 December 2019

A PLASTIC packaging manufacturer has been fined after an accident at its site resulted in an employee suffering multiple fractures to their pelvis and legs.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 12 September 2017, the employee of Sirap UK Ltd, of Salters Lane, Sedgefield was operating a forklift truck near to a row of Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBCs). FIBCs are more commonly known as bulk bags or dumpy bags and are used in many industries, including construction and manufacturing, to transport products or materials.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the FIBCs were stacked in an unsafe manner at a height of approximately 2.2 metres. The employee reversed the forklift truck and it caught one of the lower FIBCs causing it to tear and spill its contents. The employee attempted to repair the tear but the top FIBC, weighing about 1 tonne, fell and struck the employee.

HSE considered arrangements at the site, for the everyday use such as storage, reuse and repair of FIBCs, created a risk of injury.

Sirap UK Limited, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 10(4) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005; and was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £1061.47 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Clare Maltby said, “There are many companies using this type of container and they should note that the use of FIBCs requires safe stacking formations and safe systems for reuse and repair. Had the company adopted the correct standards this worker would not have been injured”.