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14th Jun, 2021

Oakland International fined £300,000 following serious accident

Ross Crawford 10th Jun, 2021

BEOLEY-based transport and logistics giant Oakland International Ltd has been fined £300,000 following a serious accident at its premises.

In the incident a man was taken to hospital with serious head and neck injuries after equipment became unstable.

Kidderminster Magistrates Court heard that on November 1, 2018, three men were attempting to move a 6metre by 1.7metre two tier conveyor belt weighing approximately 423kg from a warehouse into the back of a lorry.

The equipment was due to be transported from Beoley, near Redditch, to another depot in Ireland.

As members of Oakland staff tried to lift the equipment, it became unstable and collapsed in a scissor-like action.

Two of the employees were pinned beneath the belt and another had his head and neck trapped between the two levels.

This member of staff was taken to hospital with head and neck injuries and was only discharged from hospital eight days later.

Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) were informed and carried out an investigation which concluded that a written health and safety risk assessment of the task had not been carried out.

WRS further noted that the method used for moving the conveyor belt was both crude and inherently unsafe.

At a hearing on May 28, Oakland International Ltd, based in Seafield Lane, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 of failing to discharge its duty to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the safety of its employees.

The company was fined £300,000 and costs were awarded in the sum of £40,300 and a victim surcharge of £120 was imposed.

In sentencing District Judge Strongman said he considered the company’s culpability to be high and that it was “more by luck than judgement” that there hadn’t been an accident on an earlier occasion.

Head of WRS Simon Wilkes said: “This was obviously an extremely distressing incident for the accident victims.

“I am pleased that Oakland International Limited has admitted its responsibilities for the health and safety of its employees and has taken action following the accident to ensure that a similar incident will not occur again.”

Worcestershire Regulatory Services delivers services including environmental health and licensing services throughout the county.

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