Lancashire

Rochdale crushed cleaner firm fined £140k

TS Ltd fallen pallets
Image caption The pallet had been holding 55 bags

A Rochdale plastics manufacturer has been fined £140,000 after a cleaner was crushed by a 1.5 tonne pallet of bags.

TS (UK) Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the death of Abel Lages, 38, at the Stakehill Industrial Estate, Middleton.

The firm admitted failing to ensure the safety of its employees, and not having a trained first aider on duty.

Manchester Crown Court, Minshull Street, also ordered the firm to pay £10,588 costs.

The court heard that Mr Lages had been cleaning up a spillage in the firm's yard at the Stakehill Industrial Estate in Middleton on 15 July 2005.

A wooden pallet, containing 55 bags of polypropylene, fell on him, trapping him beneath and causing his death at the scene.

After the hearing an HSE spokesperson explained that polypropylene, which is used to manufacture plastic bowls and buckets, is dangerous to stack as it can pour out of torn bags, making the stack unstable.

'Advice ignored'

HSE principal inspector John McGrellis said: "Mr Lages died because TS (UK) Ltd didn't treat the health and safety of its workers as a priority.

"There were labels on the polypropylene bags that made it clear how they should be stored safely but this advice was ignored.

"The company didn't provide guidance about how to stack the pallets, and no one trained in First Aid was on duty to help try to resuscitate Mr Lages when the pallet fell on him."

Mr McGrellis added: "Since Mr Lages' death, TS (UK) Ltd has changed how it stores pallets so that it no longer stacks them on top of each other. If this action had been taken previously, Mr Lages may still be alive today."

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