Forklift accidents, prosecutions and fines

Man injured by forklift. Company fined over £20,000

work safeAn Essex haulage firm has been fined after an employee was struck by a forklift truck driven by an untrained operative.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that on 29 November 2013, an employee was working at Unico Services UK’s warehouse in Rayleigh. While he was standing taking parcels from a cage, he was struck by a load carried by a FLT driven by another employee. He sustained a broken hip and has been unable to return to full time work since the incident.

Health and Safety Executive investigations revealed that the person operating the forklift had received no relevant suitable training. The defendant’s management was aware that he was operating the forklift from time to time before the incident.

Unico Services UK Limited, which is registered at Charter House, Leigh Road, Leigh-On-Sea but trades from Brook Road, Rayleigh, Essex, admitted breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998. The company was fined £18,000, and HSE was awarded full prosecution costs of £1,302.

The court heard from HSE that extensive published guidance on forklift truck training has long been freely available, to assist duty holders.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jessica Donne said: “Every year, nationally, many serious and all too often fatal incidents take place involving forklift trucks. The risks from allowing an untrained driver to operate a forklift truck were entirely foreseeable.”

“On the day of the incident, two trained forklift truck drivers were on site, so there was no need for an untrained employee to be operating this plant.

“No worker should be permitted to operate a forklift truck without suitable training, even for short periods or on an occasional basis.”