8:00am Friday 10th August 2012
By Lucy Kirby
A BERTH operator at the Port of Tilbury has been fined £20,000 after a worker had to have both legs amputated.
William James, 73, was working on Stanton Grove Limited's berth 47 on 26 March 2010 when his legs were crushed by a cargo container.
Basildon Crown Court heard the dock worker was returning to a safe refuge under a quayside crane when a 45ft container, which was being lowered by a reach stacker, knocked him down.
The driver was unaware that Mr James was on the quayside and had been knocked down, and continued to lower the container onto his legs, crushing them so severely they later had to be amputated.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive concluded Stanton Grove had failed to ensure the safety of Mr James while he was working on the quayside.
The company, based at Tower Wharf, Northfleet, Kent, admitted breaching a section of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £20,000, the awarding of costs will be determined at a later date.
HSE Inspector Toni Drury said after the hearing: "This incident clearly demonstrates why it is essential that the risk arising from the movement of vehicles and large lifting plant at docks is carefully managed.
"It is common for a wide range of vehicles and equipment to have to use shared space on the docks.
“There may also be workers on foot undertaking tasks such as guiding loads, removing twistlocks or supervising operations.
“Good co-ordination and co-operation between all those who are in control of the berth, the operations and the workforce is a necessity, and an agreed safe system of work must be properly communicated and training provided to all involved.
"HSE will not hesitate to take action where there is a risk of serious harm to people at work."
Mr James's employer Castlekeep Limited was also prosecuted for alleged breaches of a section of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and a regulation of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, but was found not guilty at an earlier hearing.
Stanton Grove declined to comment.
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