Two workers were badly injured after a trolley load of glass panes fell on them at one of the UK’s most well-known manufacturers, a Bristol court has heard.

Ashley Emes and Nick Stone were both working for glass manufacturer, Pilkington UK Ltd, at its Imperial Park site in the city’s Hartcliffe district when the overloaded trolley collapsed with the sheets of glass landing on the two men.

Bristol Magistrates’ Court was told by prosecutors for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the 1,500kg capacity trolley had earlier been overloaded with glass weighing 1,780kg by two of the injured men’s colleagues.

The load was unevenly distributed with most of the weight on one side of the trolley, so when Mr Emes, 24, and 35-year-old Mr Stone attempted to move the trolley it collapsed and the glass fell on top of them, shattering as it did so.

Mr Emes from Longwell Green, Bristol, suffered a broken leg and needed 72 stitches applied to his neck. He has had a number of operations on his knee and has not yet returned to work. Mr Stone, from Weston-super-Mare, suffered severe cuts, bruising and tendon damage, and only returned to work six months after the incident, which happened on 30 June 2010.

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector, Mehtaab Hamid, said:

“This horrific incident could have been avoided if Pilkington had a system in place to ensure its staff knew the loading capacity of the trolley, the weight of the loads being put on it, and how to load it correctly.

“Employers have a duty to ensure their staff have the information and training necessary to carry out their duties safely, and higher standards should be expected from such a large and well known company.”

Pilkington United Kingdom Ltd, of Hall Lane, Latham, Ormskirk, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £20,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £5,646.