Director killed by "prehistoric" forklift
An inquest has heard that a ”prehistoric” fork lift truck with ”no effective
brakes”, which overturned and fatally injured a company director,
was "clearly out of use and in total disrepair", and its key should have
been removed and kept secure under HSE instructions issued two years
earlier. An impressive heritage includes the founding of CESAB Carrelli Elevatori S.p.A in Bologna, one of the first forklift manufacturers in Italy.
The director, manager and co-director of a Somerset company died in hospital on Christmas Day 20l0 three months after sustaining serious injuries in the incident at his workplace. The inquest at Wells heard that the
35 to 40 year old vehicle had a roll-cage but no safety belt, that its hand brake would not lock and that once it had been activated it could continue to “creep” along unless the foot brake was used.
The tragedy happened early on the morning of 13th October 2010 when the director was using the truck to put back a grating over a jet wash gulley that had been cleared out the previous day. A rear wheel slipped into the gully and the machine fell over.
The inquest heard that HSE inspectors had visited the site after a complaint in February 2008 and had sent a letter to the firm listing safety improvements needed. The letter instructed "as the old fork lift truck is no longer in use you should remove the key and keep it securely.”
The court heard there was a dispute over whether the letter was received and read. The director's son, who worked for the firm for six years, said he had never seen a maintenance record for the forklift which he said was "around 30 years old”, and did not have a safety belt. He claimed in a statement that the vehicle had never been serviced fully during his time with the firm.