Man crushed to death in horrific forklift accident
A Sheffield engineering firm has admitted breaching health and safety laws after a worker was crushed to death in an horrific forklift truck accident. The deceased, a father to be, aged 28 employed as a crane driver at the firm's factory was killed in 2008 when a group of employees tried to extract a crate weighing up to five tonnes from a massive shipping container using a fork lift truck.
The company could now face an unlimited fine after it pleaded guilty to failing to ensure its employees' health and safety on the day of the accident.
Fiona Carter, prosecuting, said two of the crates had been returned to Sheffield from the parent company in India who bought the engineering firm for £9m last year. "They went out in open-topped containers and it was known to the company for a week that they would come back in closed containers," she said. "That created a problem. The deceased was trying to help work out how they were going to get these crates out."
The dead man was crushed between the top of the fork lift truck's roll cage and the lid of the container. Ms Carter told the court: "One of the guys did go away to write a risk assessment, but on the floor the employees were still trying out ways to this get this crate out."
She said the first crate was removed by hauling it out with chains. The fatal accident happened while trying to take out the second.
"There were a lot of other men who were also similarly exposed to risk," Ms Carter said.
Paul Verrico, representing the company said the company was sorry over the death, adding that the incident was an "isolated lapse". Magistrates decided to send the case to Sheffield Crown Court for sentencing as they believed their powers were insufficient.
Chairman of the bench Trevor Griffiths said: "No planning or risk assessment had been organised - what happened was a trial and error method. The company didn't manage the situation."
The company's acting chairman, said: "We now await the outcome of the court case and will, of course, comply with any ruling made."