Joiner crushed at work

Falling MDF boards crushed joiner

A joinery firm’s failure to comply with work at height regulations has cost it more than £10,000 after an employee was crushed by half a tonne of MDF boards.

The 50-year-old sustained two collapsed lungs, a broken collar bone, five broken ribs and a gash to his head in the incident, which happened at Specialist Joinery Projects’ site in September last year.

Basildon Magistrates’ Court was told yesterday (26 June) that the employee was working in the joinery shop of the factory selecting MDF boards to cut down to size.

He had removed three boards, which were stored vertically and leant against racking, but as he removed the fourth, a suction effect caused a further 15 of the 30 kilogramme boards to topple over on top of him.

The subsequent investigation found the MDF boards were not secured or racked. HSE inspector Kim Tichias said the company should have ensured the boards were secure and that employees had a safe process for using and handling boarding.

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

Specialist Joinery Projects pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 10(4) of the Work at Height Regulations which covers the storage of materials to prevent them falling. As well as the fine, magistrates ordered the firm to pay £598 costs.