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Forklift accidents

Cheshire cheese firm fined after worker falls from forklift

24 Jan 2014. A Cheshire cheese manufacturer has been fined for safety failings after a worker injured his leg and ankle when he fell from the forks of a forklift truck during an unsafe loading operation.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive following the incident at its plant on Crewe Road in Hatherton, near Nantwich, on 4 July 2012.

Chester Magistrates’ Court heard that the injured worker, a 53-year-old from Crewe, who has asked not to be named, had been helping to load cheese onto a wagon so it could be delivered to a customer.

He was being lifted up to the wagon, with one foot on each prong on the forklift, when the forks hit the back of the vehicle and jolted. He fell around a metre to the ground below, suffering cuts to his left leg and multiple fractures to his ankle.

A HSE investigation found it had become common practice for people to be lifted on forklift prongs. Despite this being illegal, the company had failed to identify it as an issue.

The Court was told that no risk assessment had been carried out for the work and no other method for accessing the wagons was available. Following the incident, the company provided steps to reach the back of the vehicles, and it has since changed the way it prepares deliveries altogether.

The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £709.15  in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jane Carroll said:

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