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Port company fined after 600kg bag falls on employee

18 December 2017

A port company was sentenced for safety breaches after a bag of fertiliser fell and struck an employee.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard how a 600kg flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC) bag of Ammonium Nitrate fell onto an employee as he was removing pallets from the front of a stack. The incident caused him to sustain multiple fractures, a dislocated ankle and knee and back injuries, and he was unable to work for thirteen weeks.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 16 May 2016, found that the company had failed to follow their own risk assessments, by stacking FIBC bags directly on top of one another, rather than in the recognised industry standard of stacking in a pyramid fashion. The company had also failed to review their stacking practice following earlier incidents of bag spills and stack collapses at their Ipswich and King’s Lynn docks.

Associated British Ports of Bedford Street, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £666,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8688.23.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Tania van Rixtel said: “This case highlights the importance of ensuring FIBC bags are stacked according to industry guidance.

This incident could so easily have been avoided if the company had followed their own risk assessments and reviewed their systems following previous bag collapses.”