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An employee of the Port of Sheerness (pictured) had to have his leg amputated after being struck by a five-tonne clamp truck in a paper reel shed.

The unnamed staff worker at the port, one of the core terminals of Peel Ports London Medway, sustained an open leg fracture and was knocked unconscious in the incident in October 2018.

A subsequent investigation found that the port had failed to ensure pedestrians and vehicles could circulate and operate safely, putting the employee and others at significant risk.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), supervisors were frequently working among five to six clamp trucks while undertaking the supervision of the paper reel unloads.

It was found that there had been previous incidents where supervisors had been in close proximity of the vehicle operations on the port and had been hit by vehicles or products.

The HSE said the Port of Sheerness Limited had only reviewed the immediate work relating to the incidents.

The port pleaded guilty at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and were fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,886.

HSE inspector Joanne Williams said: “This incident has resulted in life changing injuries in a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to identify the roles of the supervisors in the reel sheds and how the work was actually being undertaken.

“They did not learn from the previous incidents involving supervisors and lift trucks to review supervisory activities across the port. There is no excuse for companies that neglect this risk.

“Pedestrians, whether they are employees or not, should be kept separate from these types of vehicles through physical barriers or safe systems of work that are clear and well supervised.”

Williams added: “Every year many people are killed or seriously injured in incidents involving workplace transport and there are significant risks associated with operating vehicles on ports, particularly when, as in this case, the vehicles have restricted visibility due to the lifting of large paper reels.

“These risks can be easily controlled using reasonably practicable precautions.”