Cargo handling company fined for safety failings

Cargo handling company fined for safety failings after worker injured

28 June 2016

A cargo handling company based in Aberdeen has been fined after a worker suffered serious injury.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that North East Stevedoring Company Limited (NESC), a cargo handling company was working at Clipper Quay, Aberdeen Harbour.

On the morning of 13 June 2013, stows (containers) holding loose pipes were being transported by a forklift truck (operated by an NESC employee) from Clipper Quay to within reach of a crane on the quayside.

Christopher Smith, who was employed by Euroline Shipping Company Limited as a ships agent to oversee loading operations, was making his way to the vessel the pipes were to be loaded onto when he was struck on the lower back by the cargo being transported.

He suffered a fracture of the left elbow and fractures of several vertebrae. He has not returned to work since the incident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that NESC failed to ensure sufficient separation between vehicles and pedestrians. They did not exclude pedestrians from the work area or provide pedestrian routes. There was no safe system of work in place at Clipper Quay.

The court was told NESC was ultimately responsible for the arrangement of their work site and the safety of those using it.

North East Stevedoring Company Limited, of Streamline Terminal, Blaikies Quay, Aberdeen, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and was fined £12,000.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Liversidge said: “The law states duty holders must ensure the workplace is organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate in a safe manner.

“NESC failed in that undertaking, there was insufficient separation between vehicles and pedestrians within the loading area at the Quay that resulted in Mr Smith sustaining serious injury that has prevented him from returning to work.”

For further information on vehicles at work visit:[1]

Notes to Editors: 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.[2]
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: link to external website[3]
  3. HSE news releases are available at