Worker crushed by falling MDF

A Joinery firm has ended up in court following an accident whereby a 50 year old man was hospitalised for 2 weeks after being crushed by approximately half a tonne of fibreboards.

The company was prosecuted by the HSE for a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations Act 2005 after an investigation found insufficient safety measures had been put in place to prevent an accident such as this happening. The MDF boards weighed 30kg each and were stacked vertically and leant against racking (unsecured) for storage purposes.

The accident happened when the employee selected several MDF boards to be cut down to size and, as he selected the last board, a suction effect occurred which pulled the remaining 15 boards behind it to fall forward on to him. Each board weighs 30kg and so the combined weight on top of the worker was considerable causing him two collapsed lungs, five broken ribs, gash to his head following the incident and a broken collar bone.

He remained in hospital for two weeks for treatment and returned to work on light duties only.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) successfully prosecuted the joinery firm finding that more could have been done to prevent the accident happening and they were fined £10,000 and £598 in costs.

An HSE Inspector said:

“The risks from falling timber and board material in the wood-working industry are well-known. There have been a number of incidents in recent years, including fatalities, where poorly-stored and unsecured boards have fallen on workers.

“Simple and relatively inexpensive control measures, such as racking, would have prevented this incident and the serious injuries incurred by this worker.”

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