BEOLEY based firm Oakland International Ltd was fined £300,000 following a serious accident at its premises which saw a man 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 6m by 1.7m two tier conveyor belt weighing approximately 423 kg from the 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 with two of the employees being pinned beneath the belt and another having 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 and that the method used for moving the conveyor belt was both crude and inherently unsafe.

At the hearing on May 28 Oakland International Limited, 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.”