Man left with ‘horrific’ injuries after Hitchin work accident

A MAN was left with internal injuries and multiple fractures after half a tonne of steel fell on him while he was working at a Hitchin company.

Stevenage Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday that the 39-year-old Hitchin machine operative, who has not been named, was working at Viking Johnson on Wilbury Way when the incident happened on May 7, 2009.

He was left with multiple injuries and fractures, which resulted in a six-week hospital stay followed by a further six-week recovery period at home.

Although he is now back at work, he has still not made a full recovery.

The court was told that the employee was rolling small flange rings - a circular steel disc used to connect pipes - when a set of larger rings weighing 250kg fell onto him, landing on his pelvis.

Viking Johnson’s parent company Crane Ltd, based in Ipswich, was fined �25,000, after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation. It was also ordered to pay �3,387 in prosecution costs.

“This was a serious and entirely preventable incident which left this employee with horrific injuries,” said HSE inspector Sandra Dias.

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“I hope other employees are taking note of this case. Although Crane Ltd had a health and safety system in place, they failed to realise it was not adequate.

“Therefore, the safety of its employees was compromised when handling the flange rings, as Crane failed to properly assess the risks and failed to provide adequate work equipment.”

The result of the investigation found that the metal rack in which the rings were resting on was not suitable and that the firm had failed to assess the risk of rings falling on an employee while taking them down.

Crane Ltd admitted breaching regulations.