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Forklift accident

Forktruck operator fined after 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 lifttruck 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 forklift 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.

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