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12 Sutherland Farm
Tibberton
Newport,
Shropshire
TF10 8NN
Tel 01952 550048
Fax 01952 551149
Email: safety@aes-training.com

Directors
D E & C L Bailey

 

FLT Accidents

The accidents listed below are just some of the 8000 fork lift related injuries and deaths reported each year to the Health and Safety Executive. Click the links for more information on each. Please click on an item for further details.

Careless Fork Truck Operator Fined for Accidentally Driving into Colleague

A fork lift truck driver has been prosecuted and fined after his carelessness could have resulted in the death of a co-worker. Worcester Crown Court heard how the fork lift truck driver employed at a sawmills in Herefordshire had been driving a rough-terrain lift-truck loaded with a stack of 12 modular sheds one day in January 2007. He was driving forwards, rather than backwards as should have been the case, and the load significantly obscured his vision so he did not see the employee he drove into. The collision left the woman with a fractured pelvis, cuts and bruises. The court was told that the incident could have been fatal though the woman has since returned to work.

HSE's investigating inspector Anne Robinson said: "It is important that individuals are aware that they, as well as their employer, have duties to look after the health and safety of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work".

The operator's employer had employed an in-house fork lift truck trainer and he had received regular refresher training and re-testing.

Robinson added. "The operator's forward visibility was significantly obscured by the load and he could not see his colleague. The injuries inflicted could have been significantly worse or even fatal. Operators of lift trucks must ensure that they operate them in accordance with the training they have been given to prevent such tragedies,"

The operator pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care for the safely of other persons under Section 7(1) of the HSWA 1974, and was fined £ 1,750 with no additional costs. Robinson said that the company was not at fault because it had taken all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safe use of lift trucks but that the operator had ignored his safety training.

The accused expressed great remorse in court for his part in the accident.

Date Added: Thursday, 3rd September 2009


Employee run over by reversing fork lift truck

A 59 year-old office worker was run over by a fork lift truck even though fellow employees repeatedly warned her company about similar near misses before the accident. Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court heard how the lady was hit by the reversing vehicle at a food company's site in Droylsden, East Manchester in May 2005.

She suffered multiple fractures to her left leg and ankle, as well as severe soft tissue injuries to her groin, inner thigh and foot. She spent almost two months in hospital as a result. The accident happened as she walked across the warehouse to collect some paperwork from its office.

Prosecuting, Kevin Donnelly said that there were no measures to segregate pedestrians and traffic in the warehouse and no designated safe route for pedestrians to cross it. The court also heard that the company had received several complaints from staff about the danger to pedestrians in the warehouse from 2003 to 2005, but failed to take effective action.

Following the first complaints in 2003, managers drew up a document designating the warehouse a non-pedestrian zone and recommending an alternative safe route. However, it was never enforced and no disciplinary action was taken against employees for walking through the warehouse. Management reacted to further complaints in 2004 by installing signs warning workers about the dangers of moving fork lift trucks and stating that only authorised employees could walk across the warehouse. However, Donnelly said the signs were 'ambiguous and ineffective', and workers were never told who was authorised and who was not.

The company, which pleaded guilty, said in mitigation that it now strictly enforces a no-pedestrian zone in the warehouse. It was fined £60,000 under Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and Regulation 3 of the MHSWR 1999. It was also ordered to pay £5,724 in costs.

Date Added: Thursday, 3rd September 2009


Fork lift runs over banksman's foot

A retail giant has paid out six-figure sums after it's employee was injured in a fork lift truck accident. The store was fined and ordered to pay costs of £230,000 for an incident at its Leicester store. The August 2003 accident at the store which resulted in a fork lift truck running over a banksman's foot happened because of poor traffic management in its car park Leicester Crown Court heard. The employee was forced to jump out of the way of a customer's vehicle as he was working and leapt into the path of a fork lift truck sustaining a fractured ankle.

Prosecuting for Leicester City Council, Ian Croxford said that the store's organisation of the car park's traffic routes was poor and the area's system of work was unsafe. There were no speed limits in place, no forklift warning signs and few road markings. These problems stemmed from the company not drawing up a specific transport risk assessment for its Leicester store he continued. The absence of a site-specific assessment meant local risks were not adequately controlled said Croxford. Simple measures such as training being offered to managers to help them decide whether workplace vehicles could be used safely were not enacted.

Visits from environmental health officers in June 2004 and May 2005 identified further breaches of safety legislation like stock being left on pavements blocking access to the store for pedestrians and forcing them to walk on the road.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the HSWA 1974 in relation to the fork lift truck accident and Section 3(1) of the Act in relation to the health and safety breaches found in June 2004 and May 2005. In mitigation the company said that since the accident it has worked with Leicester City Council to improve safety at the store by drawing up a risk assessment specific to the site and erecting signs and road markings. The company was fined £40,000 under Section 2(1) of the HSWA and £40,000 for breaching Section 3(1). It was also ordered to pay costs of £150,000.

Date Added: Thursday, 3rd September 2009


Woman has leg skinned by fork lift truck

A well known supermarket was slammed for 'extreme carelessness' by a crown court judge. Judge Harvey Clark, sentencing at Dorchester Crown Court, criticised the retail giant after the accident left a former employee often confined to a wheelchair or crutches. The court heard how the 42-year-old was working in the warehouse at the back of the store in Weymouth, Dorset when the accident happened in November 2005.

She was stacking the bottom shelf in the storage room next to a doorway when a fork lift truck drove through from the adjoining room. Its load took the skin off her left leg as it made contact.

Prosecuting for the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, Scott Stemp said that the fork lift truck operator could not see where he was driving because his vehicle was overloaded. There was also no clear demarcation between pedestrian areas and workplace vehicles.

Although the company'shead office had carried out a transport survey of the site, its findings were not acted upon. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the HSWA 1974. In mitigation, the company said that since the accident, it had spent almost £30,000 on health and safety measures.

It was fined £80,000, and ordered to pay £17,500 in prosecution costs.

Date Added: Thursday, 3rd September 2009


Workplace transport fatality results in £180,000 fine

A well known transport company have been fined after a reversing vehicle killed an employee. Although not a fork lift accident we have included it on this site since so many incidents are caused by lack of observation.

Workplace Transport is one of the areas that the HSE is currently focusing its enforcement actions upon rigorously. The company was prosecuted under three separate pieces of Health and Safety legislation:

The Health and Safety at Work act

The Management of Health and Safety Regulations

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations)

In addition to the fine the company were ordered to pay costs of almost £20,000.

The employee who was killed was reversed into by a tractor unit which had no hazard lights or warning buzzer. Other transgressions included inadequate risk assessment and a lax policy towards training and the wearing of high visibility clothing.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Lift truck accident cost firm £20,000

A marble tile manufacturing firm has been fined over £22,000 after a fork lift accident that left a worker with a seriously injured right hand. The man was in a workshop in Fishponds, Bristol when the accident happened on January 30th 2002.

The court heard that the injured man was trying to retrieve a box of marble tiles that was standing on a pile of stacked crates. In order to reach the box he stood on a wooden pallet resting on the forks of a lift truck. The operator then raised him up approximately 2 meters from the ground so he could reach. Bristol magistrates court heard that as he was being lifted up he placed his right hand on top of the truck's mast. As the truck was manoeuvred into position his hand became trapped between the mast and a steel girder that was attached to the warehouse roof. He suffered fractures to his index and middle fingers and two other fingers were later amputated in hospital.

The company did actually own a properly designed working platform for lifting people on the forks of a truck but on this occasion, failed to use it. The court heard that, at the time of the accident, it was common practice for employees to be raised up on wooden pallets but the company has now corrected this procedure.

The fine was £20,000 for a breach of Section 2 of the Health and safety at Work Act along with costs of £2,294.93

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


£25,000 fine for crush death

An engineering company was fined £25,000 along with the full prosecution costs of £7,452.60 after a court heard how a lorry driver was crushed to death by a reversing lift truck.

Atherstone Magistrates court heard how the 56 year old driver was delivering goods to a factory in Exhall near Coventry when the accident happened on 23rd January 2002. The deceased was arranging for his lorry to be unloaded but as he was walking across the yard he was struck by the reversing fork lift truck which was carrying out the task. He was then trapped between the truck and a parked lorry and suffered serious crushing injuries to his stomach and abdomen. He died five weeks later in hospital.

The court was told that the accident happened because the company failed to adequately segregate pedestrians and vehicles at the site. In particular, there were no designated traffic routes or pedestrian walkways and no barriers to prevent people coming into contact with vehicles. In addition, the company failed to ensure that visiting drivers and employees were provided with written instructions on the safety procedures to follow when working in the yard. The company also failed to ensure that people wore high visibility clothing while working in the yard and there were no mirrors installed to avoid blind spots.

Speaking in mitigation for the company which pleaded guilty, it was stated that the firm had carried out a suitable risk assessment on the movement of vehicles and pedestrians in the yard. The company have now put in place a traffic management system.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


£180,000 fine after employee crushed by boom

A plant hire company has been fined £180,000 after a court heard that an employee was crushed to death whilst operating an unsafe loading machine.

The accident happened at Caerphilly on July 20th 2001 when a maintenance fitter was showing an untrained operator how to operate a skid steer loading shovel. Newport Crown Court heard how a female sales representative and a male colleague decided to use the machine in order to empty rubbish into a waste skip. As the lady sat in the machine, the maintenance fitter demonstrated how to operate the controls. At this point the lever that lowers the bucket was pressed and the boom suddenly dropped to the ground crushing the man who suffered internal injuries and later died in hospital.

The court heard that the boom lever - which was designed to automatically halt the movement of the boom when it was released - had become worn. This meant that when the lever was depressed the boom would drop to the ground without warning. Investigations showed that there were no records of any maintenance checks being performed on the machine in the year prior to the accident. In addition, none of the staff had received any formal training on how to operate the machine safely.

The company has now put in place, written maintenance systems to ensure that all items of plant are maintained at regular intervals.

The company was fined £60,000 for each of three breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act: Failing to ensure adequate training had been given, failing to provide an effective system of maintenance and failing to ensure that work equipment was maintained in an efficient state. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £19,767.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


£8,000 fine and £6,000 costs following FLT fatality

A Dunstable company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 costs after a fatal accident involving a fork lift truck at their premises. The driver of the truck was killed in this case and it transpired that he was not 'licensed' to drive the vehicle and should not have been doing so.

It was against company safety policy for untrained operators to drive trucks and it is not known why the victim had taken it upon himself to drive the truck when the supervisor left the work scene.

Despite this the company admitted that it had not taken stringent enough steps to ensure that untrained and unlicensed personnel did not operate such machinery.

The court accepted that in this case the company's level of culpability was low and this was reflected in the comparatively low fine for such a case.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Paper firm fined £40,000 after crush death

A paper wholesale company has been fined £40,000 after Bury St Edmunds Crown Court heard that one of it's employees was crushed to death after an unsafe lifting operation. The deceased was employed as a lorry driver and had just delivered a fork lift truck to a site in Ipswich when the accident happened in November 1999.

Several workers were involved in trying to get the truck off the lorry using another fork lift truck but they discovered that they could not engage the forks properly under the truck being lifted. As a result they decided to utilise a second truck so that it could take the weight whilst the forks of the first one were positioned underneath it. The court heard that while one of the workers went off to find another truck the lorry driver climbed into the cab of the truck that was being unloaded. This unfortunately caused the truck to tip on to it's side and the worker was trapped underneath it suffering fatal crushing injuries.

The court heard that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment should have been carried out for the operation and this could have, for example, resulted in the truck being delivered on a more suitable vehicle with a tailgate lift.

The fines were imposed under Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and safety at Work Regulations and Regulation 4 of the Provision and use of work equipment Regulations. In addition it was fined under Regulations 7 and 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. The company was also ordered to pay the full prosecution costs of £7,323.3

P.S. Something similiar to the above happened to me in 1977 when attempting to use two trucks to lift another off the back of a lorry at Yale Materials Handling at Wednesfield, West Midlands. Luckily there were no injuries in our case. The other truck operator was Dave Gillespie who later went on to work in sales at Lansing Linde. If Dave comes across this page I would love to hear from him here.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Fork Lift Operator wins £2.4 Million Compensation

A warehouse worker has received almost £2.4 million in an out of court settlement after he had an accident at work on the fork lift he was driving.

The successful claimant was working for a stationery company in Cwmbran, South Wales when the accident happened in 1995. He was driving a lift truck around a sharp corner when it overturned crushing him underneath it.

His spine was broken in three places and he is now paralysed from the waist down. He claimed on the basis that he had not received any training on how to drive fork lift trucks and was also left unsupervised at the time of the accident.

The company accepted 90% liability for the accident.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Worker sustains broken back

A manufacturing plant has been fined £10,000 in fines and costs after an accident on 2nd March 2001 in which a worker sustained three fractured vertebrae and compression of the neck as a result of a fall from a plastic cage which was being elevated on the forks of a lift truck.

During a stock check staff had to gain access to the highest level of racking in the warehouse and the injured man was lifted up in the container which was raised up to a height of 4 meters. The container was strapped to the forks of the truck but during the lowering process the forks jammed and when the operator tried moving the forks up to clear the jam they became stuck again.

The operator tried to move the forks once more and the truck's lifting mechanism failed causing the plastic container to fall about two meters to the floor. Doncaster Magistrates Court heard that the method of using the plastic container was unsafe and had caused the forks to jam. It also made hydraulic fluid drain out of the hydraulic cylinder of the vehicle's lift mechanism causing the forks to free fall to the ground.

The company accepted responsibility for the accident and stated it was an isolated incident and not typical of the way it conducted business. They have now purchased four new lifting platforms to employees to work at heights safely.

The £10,00 fine was for a breach of section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the full prosecution costs of £1494.70 were also awarded against the company.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004>


Man break legs falling from unsafe platform

A warehousing company found itself in court after an employee suffered a broken leg when he fell over five meters from an unsafe working platform on February 4th 2000. The injured man was undertaking a stock check and to do this he was raised up in a metal cage balanced on the forks of a lift truck. As he was performing the check the cage overbalanced. He fell to the warehouse floor and was fortunate not to have been killed. In addition to the leg injury he suffered severe facial cuts.

The court heard that although the cage was designed to be used in such a manner it was not properly secured to the forks of the lift truck with chains to hold it in place. The company should have ensured that the cage was properly secured before commencing the operation.

The company pleaded guilty to the offence and claimed in mitigation their deep regret for the accident and they have now produced a new health and safety manual for such lifting operations.

They were fined £5000 under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and a further £3000 under regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations for failing to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. It was also fined £2000 under regulation 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations for failing to ensure that a lifting operation was carried out in a safe manner. The company was also ordered to pay the full prosecution costs of £2383

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


FLT Instructor fined £500!

No we are not gloating over this one but it shows just how careful Instructors need to be when conducting a training course with potentially dangerous machinery.

The Instructor concerned - whose name and company shall remain anonymous - was conducting a course in Yate, Gloucester in January 2000 for 14 members of staff with the remit to show them how to escape safely from the elevated cab of a cherry picker type truck. As you may know this involves putting on a safety harness and abseiling from the elevated cab and is something that should be routinely taught to operators of such vehicles.

Following a demonstration by the Instructor a trainee tried the same thing but the supporting rope broke and he crashed 10 meters onto the concrete floor below shattering his pelvis and sustaining severe leg injuries. The court heard that the rope rubbed against a sharp piece of metal on the cab of the truck which cut through it. Ironically the trainees pointed out the sharp edge to the Instructor but he insisted that it was safe to carry on!

The Instructor was fined £500 under section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work act along with £300 costs.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Reported by concerned member of public

Fortunately no-one was injured on this occasion when a Health and Safety Inspector visited a site where a new agricultural building was being erected and saw a man being elevated to a height of over eight metres on the forks of a Telescopic Materials handler.

The incident happened at Linstock Castle in Carlisle, Cumbria and the visit followed a telephone call from a concerned member of the public.

It was also discovered that another employee gained access to the roof by crossing over a nearby roof which was made from fragile corrugated cement sheets! In addition there were no guards present to prevent workers from falling off the roof. The HSE Inspector said in Carlisle Magistrates Court that in a bid to cut costs the firm had not used safety equipment such as scaffolding on the site. The company denied that it had put profit before safety and had warned the site foreman concerned that it was unsafe to raise and lower people on the forks of a vehicle.

The company was fined £3000 under section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act together with a further £1000 for a breach of Construction and Loler Regulations and ordered to pay the full prosecution costs of £1000

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Model car plant has two accidents in four months

A car plant that was used to illustrate best practice at segregating lift trucks from pedestrians in the HSE's guidance note "Workplace Transport Safety" became the HSE's target following two separate accidents four months apart involving pedestrians and lift trucks.

In the first, on 16th February 1999 a lorry driver parked her vehicle in the goods reception area and went to the rest room. As she was crossing one of the warehouse aisles to return to her lorry she was struck by a lift truck and suffered severe muscle and ligament damage and had to undergo a skin graft. On 17th June 1999 a welder was working in a temporary workstation which had been erected next to a fork lift route. As the man passed through the welding curtains he was struck by a lift truck suffering a fracture of his right leg and foot.

The company was fined a total of £15,000 along with costs for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (1992) The costs were just over £884

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Lost finger and Two months off work

A serious accident causing permanent disfigurement to a man occurred with a lift truck on October 11th 1999 in Blackwood South Wales when the company's MD was operating a truck whilst another employee was trying to adjust the width of the fork setting by hand. It is believed that the MD asked the injured worker to do this while he stayed in the cab of the truck and it would seem that he was distracted when an iron bar fell. In any event he accidentally knocked the truck's control lever and the forks dropped slicing the top of the finger from the injured party's hand who spent 2 months off work as a result.

The person driving the truck had received no formal training in its use and it was common for untrained persons to use trucks at the premises. In addition the company failed to notify the HSE of the accident in accordance with the RIDDOR regulations and the MD made a false entry as to the cause of the accident in the firms accident book.

The company was fined £5000 for breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, a further £1000 for a breach of the RIDDOR regulations and the MD was fined a further £1000 for intentionally obstructing a Factory Inspector in the execution of his duties. A further £500 fine was imposed for the false entry in the accident book and both prosecuted parties were ordered to pay prosecution costs of £224.77

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Lift truck crush accident

A building materials manufacturer was fined £8,000 after a court heard that a worker suffered a fractured pelvis when he was crushed between machinery and a reversing fork lift truck.

Sevenoaks Magistrates court heard the the 53 year old injured man was standing in a narrow aisle preparing to attach a wheeled container to the back of a lift truck so that the container could be towed to a waste collection area. As he attempted to attach the container his colleague reversed the lift truck too fast crushing him between the vehicle and a fixed piece of machinery. He suffered a fractured pelvis and leg in the accident and was unable to return to work for almost a year.

The court heard that the company had failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment for the removal of damaged bricks from the area. This would have shown that standing behind a reversing lift truck in a narrow aisle was inherently unsafe. In addition the court was told that the company failed to maintain the equipment used in the waste removing operation in a safe and proper fashion.

In mitigation it was stated that the company had now introduced a safe system of work for the process and had provided safety training for all its lift truck operators.

The company was fined £8,000 for a breach of section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act along with costs of £3,965

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Lift Truck crush death costs company £30,000

An accident occurred on March 14th 2001 in Glastonbury, Somerset when a 43 year old car dismantler was crushed by the fork lift truck he was driving. The deceased was using the truck to load cars onto the back of a lorry but as he was reversing across the yard, one of the rear wheels slipped into a hole causing the vehicle to topple over onto its side. The operator was trapped beneath it, received severe fatal crushing injuries and died at the scene.

Bristol Crown Court heard that the accident happened because the company had failed to ensure that the surface of the yard was suitable for lift truck usage. Although the yard as a whole was in a poor condition, the presence of the large hole posed a particular risk to employees driving lift trucks. The hole was dug in September 2000 but was enlarged by water erosion until the time of the accident. Although employees knew that the size of the hole was increasing the owner of the yard was unaware of the problem as he had not visited the area since December 2000 and there was no system in place for monitoring yard activities.

The owner of the company pleaded guilty but in mitigation it was stated that the hole had been filled in and the yard resurfaced to ensure that it was suitable for lift truck operations.

The owner of the company was fined £15,000 for a breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) regulations 1992 and was ordered to pay the full prosecution costs of £14,853.90

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Fatal fall from truck

An employee of a house building company died as the result of being crushed after falling from the fork lift truck he was driving. As a result of the accident he had to have a leg amputated and he subsequently died from a blood clot. A court heard that the truck had been travelling over uneven ground and that the steering was faulty. The company were fined and ordered to pay costs to a total of £15,000

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Worker sustains multiple injuries in fall from truck

An accident at Tamworth, Staffordshire occurred on 30th September 1999 when an employee fell from an access platform that was being carried on the forks of a lift truck.

The injured man was standing on the access platform attempting to reach some racking but as it was being lowered by the lift truck driver it struck a pallet on the racking which caused it to become dislodged. The platform fell off the forks and threw the worker onto the floor.

He suffered multiple injuries and was lucky not to have been killed according to Chris Green who was prosecuting on behalf of Tamworth Borough Council. The court heard that the accident happened because an appropriate measure to secure the platform to the truck had not been used.

Two companies were prosecuted and in mitigation said that since the incident they had taken steps to prevent a similar accident happening again. They did however plead guilty to various breaches of sections of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and were jointly fined a total of £44,500 in fines and costs.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Building firm fined £60,000 after lift truck death

An accident occurred at an housing development on August 7th 2000 which resulted in the death of a 20 year old employee. It took place at a site in Basingstoke and Southampton Crown Court heard how the deceased was operating a cement mixer when he was accidentally struck by a fork lift truck.

The truck was being used to transport mortar and was being driven by an untrained operator. The collision caused fatal crushing injuries. The 20 year old was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

The court heard that the exact details of the accident were unknown as the lift truck operator did not see the victim and believed that he was standing a safe distance from the truck at the time.

The court heard how both the company and it's director had failed to ensure that the truck was being driven by a trained operator and that the director had instructed the untrained worker to drive the machine when the regular driver failed to turn up for work. Because of this - when a lift truck driver was again required during the same day - the company's foreman instructed the same person to drive it again.

Oba Nsugbe prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive said that if the truck had been driven by a suitably trained driver the accident could have been avoided.

The fines consisted of £40,000 under section 2 of the Health and safety at Work Act and the director was also fined £20,000 under section 37 of the same act. The full prosecution costs of £8,799 were also ordered to be payed split two thirds payable by the company and one third by the director.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Company fined £12,000 after fall from forks

An electronics company was fined £12,000 along with prosecution costs of £1,537 after an employee was injured whilst standing on the forks of a lift truck.

The accident happened in Blackpool on 8th January 2001 when the injured man was helping to dispose of waste paper which was loaded into a metal trolley which was resting on the forks of the truck. The truck was then driven to a rubbish skip where the man also climbed on to the forks in order to empty the waste paper into a skip. As he was doing this the lift truck driver raised the forks ten feet above the floor of the skip to allow the rubbish to be tipped in. The injured man slipped and fell into the skip and the trolley also fell off the forks landing on top of him.

He sustained a cracked rib, deep cuts to his right elbow and injuries to his lower back and as a result he still walks with a limp and has been unable to return to work since the accident.

Speaking after the case at Blackpool Magistrates Court HSE Inspector Stephen Garsed said "falls from height are one of the biggest causes of death and injury at work. It is therefore essential that companies have effective management systems in place to prevent them".

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Farm owners convicted of Manslaughter

Two farm owners have been convicted of Manslaughter after Birmingham Crown Court heard that they failed to prevent a 16 year old operator of a telescopic materials handler using the machine without adequate training. A fatal accident occured when the youth was undertaking work experience at a farm in Hadnall, Shropshire on 9th November 1999.

The court heard that the deceased was using the machine to clear mud which had fallen on to the main single lane A49 road outside the farm. He parked the machine with it's raised boom overhanging part of the roadway and then stood next to the vehicle when a passing lorry struck the boom overturning the truck onto the young lad who suffered severe crushing injuries and died later that evening in hospital.

The court heard that before the deceased began work at the farm a work experience placement officer and an Inspector from the Health and Safety Executive had visited the site on two separate occasions and warned the farm owners that he should not be allowed to operate the machine until he had undergone suitable training. A subsequent investigation by West Mercia Constabulary revealed that it had become common practice for the young man to operate the machine both on the farm and the public highway.

The jury convicted the farm owners of manslaughter and one was jailed for 15 months whilst the other was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for one year. Both defendants were also ordered to pay the prosecution costs of £10,000 each and both are seeking leave to appeal against the level of sentence.

The jailed farmer had his sentence suspended for one year following an appeal at London's Criminal Appeal Court on Dec 21st 2001. The judges heard how the business was deteriorating due to the imprisonment and the deceased's parents also wrote to the court explaining that the farmer had learned a lesson from the tragedy. Mr. Justice Pitchford stated that the original sentencing judge had "made no mistake" but that there were "exceptional circumstances" to suspend the sentence.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


£350,000 fine for fork truck fatality

A housing development company was fined £350,000 after Winchester Crown Court heard that an untrained fork lift truck operator was crushed to death after his machine overturned on a construction site. The 19 year old driver was transporting materials around a construction site in Fleet, Hampshire when the accident happened on March 29th 2000.

The deceased was using a counterbalanced truck fitted with a telescopic boom to move 17 large wooden roof trusses when the truck was driven over an area of rough soil it overturned landing partially on it's side. The trusses fell onto the ground and initially prevented the machine from turning over completely. The operator then tried to climb out of the truck but when he managed to get his head out the trusses collapsed and the truck fell completely onto it's side crushing the operator who died instantly.

The court heard that he had not received adequate training on the safe use of lift trucks although he had been working at the site for 3 months. It transpired that he had received only half a days training on counterbalanced machines which was deemed to be totally inadequate. An independent health and safety consultant had visited the site just 3 weeks before the accident and warned that the deceased should not be allowed to operate counterbalanced trucks. The court heard that a second operator had also been operating trucks at another site in Verwood, Dorset despite a lack of adequate training.

The company was fined £350,000 for 2 offences under section 2 of the Health and safety at Work Act along with the full prosecution costs of £14,754.85

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Customer has leg amputated

A warehousing company was prosecuted after a customer had both of his legs and wrists broken and had to have his left leg amputated below the knee after he was struck and then run over by a reversing fork lift truck.

The accident happened in Middleton, Manchester on March 24th 2000 when a customer visited the warehouse to collect some items. He was standing in the yard while a lift truck was in use removing pallets from the warehouse to the yard. As the truck was reversing to return to the warehouse it hit the man who had also started to walk towards the warehouse. The collision knocked the injured party to the ground and both his legs were run over by the truck.

The firm had been served with an improvement notice in November 1999 ordering it to implement a vehicle management system because of the potential risks of accidents. The company had however, decided to start the vehicle management scheme on March 27th - three days after the accident occurred.

The company was fined £10,000 under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act after it pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of persons not in it's employ. It was also ordered to pay £1775.10 costs.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Fall from height results in fractured skull

On this occasion a Business Manager was seriously injured when he fell from the cage seen here. The accident happened on April 26th 2000. He sustained a fractured skull and suffered several fractured ribs.

The injured party was attempting to unplug a component cleaning machine from an overhead power socket by standing inside the cage which was resting on the forks of the lift truck. The wire cage suddenly tipped over causing him to fall 3 meters to the ground. Newcastle Crown Court heard that at the time of the accident it was common practice for employees to be raised up in cages on the forks of a lift truck.

The company pleaded guilty to a breach of section 2 (1) of the Health and safety at Work Act and was fined £15,000 along with the full prosecution costs of £2711.75. The company have since reviewed their procedures for working at heights and provided hoist trucks to allow the job to be done safely in future.

The company was fined £3000 under section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act together with a further £1000 for a breach of Construction and Loler Regulations and ordered to pay the full prosecution costs of £1000

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Man killed by collision with truck

A property development company was ordered to pay out over £50,000 in fines and costs after Bournemouth Crown Court heard that a Labourer was killed when he was struck by a moving telescopic materials handler on a building sit

The HSE brought the prosecution against a company that was constructing new housing in Shaftsbury, Dorset when the accident occurred on 17th June 1999.

On the day of the accident a Labourer was crossing an access road used by vehicles to transport materials to and from the site. As he was crossing the road he was struck by a passing telescopic materials handler. He fell underneath the vehicle and received a glancing blow to the side of the head from it's rear offside wheel. The driver of the machine was not aware of the accident until he traveled back across the access road five minutes later.

HSE Inspectors found a number of safety failures at the site. In particular the access road was the only route leading onto the site and was used by both vehicles and pedestrians. There were no separate marked paths to show pedestrians where to walk and no barriers to separate them from vehicles. In addition the court heard, the company failed to draw up an adequate health and safety plan before any work began at the site which would have set out how transport risks were to be managed.

The company have now stopped using this type of handler after it was found that drivers had a visibility problem on the right hand side of the vehicle.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Untrained operator killed when truck overturns

Tragically a 23 year old man was killed in February 1998 when the reach truck he was driving overturned. At Reading Crown Court in October 1999 the owner of a retail firm, pleaded guilty to various offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and was fined £30,000 along with the prosecution's costs of £21,649.99.

There were no witnesses to the accident which happened when the deceased, who was not trained or authorized to drive, decided to start practising on the truck. It is believed that, as he drove between two rows of metal racking the truck's mast struck an overhead metal bar and the 3 tonne truck toppled over landing on top of the operator who suffered a fractured spine and died instantly.

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004


Employee crushed to death

A Waste paper company was fined £16,000 after a court heard that one of its employees was crushed to death under a lift truck (shown opposite) because it failed to ensure that pedestrians and vehicles were properly segregated at its site. The court was told that a 51 year old lorry driver who was delivering waste paper to the company on 6th August 1999 parked his wagon inside the plant's warehouse and one of the firm's Directors began using the truck to unload the lorry. Whilst the lorry was being unloaded from one side the lorry driver walked around the vehicle to begin opening the remaining covers. The truck was carrying bales of paper which had been wrapped into six foot high stacks and although there were no witnesses it would appear that the deceased stepped in front of the truck and that the operator's vision was obscured by the load he was carrying.

The court also heard how the firm had failed to draw up a safe system of work for vehicle loading although that had now been corrected. In addition to the fine the company was ordered to pay the full prosecution costs of £767.84

Date Added: Monday, 13th December 2004