Worker Injured In Port Accident

A port operator has been hit with a £1.8m fine after a worker was seriously injured while he was helping to moor a ship.

The man was part of a three-man team who were attaching heavy ropes to land when the accident happened in June 2014.

Basildon Crown Court heard that fingers on his left hand became trapped between a heaving line and the drum of a powered capstan.

C.RO Ports London Limited admitted safety offences that contributed to the incident.

His arm was pulled into the mechanism and wrapped around the drum, causing ligament and nerve damage as well as severe fractures.

An inquiry by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that C.RO Ports London Limited had not correctly identified and taken steps to control risks caused by powered capstans.

Supervision and training of employees and the monitoring and auditing of safety were also found to be inadequate.

Crucially, the firm had not acted on safety concerns raised by employees before the accident happened.

C.RO Ports London Limited, of Long Reach House, London Road, Purfleet, Essex, admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The firm was ordered to pay fines of £1.8m and full prosecution costs totalling £14,328.

“This type of incident was totally foreseeable,” said HSE Inspector Glyn Davies.

“Indeed, workers had already alerted their employer to risks arising from these particular capstans. This serious incident could easily have led to a fatality.

“All capstans feature dangerous rotating components. Capstans are difficult to guard, so it is vital that all workers must be made to stand well away from the danger zone while they are in use.

“This can be achieved by measures including careful design of the capstans and surrounding work area, for example, to keep foot-pedals well away from rotating components.

“It is fortunate that an alert co-worker successfully operated an emergency stop device on the capstan, preventing further injury”.

“Employers should seek to cooperate with workers to improve standards of health and safety, encouraging all to report near-misses or potentially dangerous situations. Clearly it is most important that employers investigate such concerns, and act promptly to implement appropriate safety precautions.”

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