Forklift accidents

Fork lift runs over banksman's foot

retail giant fined six figure sumA retail giant has paid out six-figure sums after it's employee was injured in a fork lift truck accident. The store was fined and ordered to pay costs of £230,000 for an incident at its Leicester store.

The August 2003 accident at the store which resulted in a fork lift truck running over a banksman's foot happened because of poor traffic management in its car park Leicester Crown Court heard. The employee was forced to jump out of the way of a customer's vehicle as he was working and leapt into the path of a fork lift truck sustaining a fractured ankle.

Prosecuting for Leicester City Council, Ian Croxford said that the store's organisation of the car park's traffic routes was poor and the area's system of work was unsafe. There were no speed limits in place, no fork lift warning signs and few road markings. These problems stemmed from the company not drawing up a specific transport risk assessment for its Leicester store he continued. The absence of a site-specific assessment meant local risks were not adequately controlled said Croxford. Simple measures such as training being offered to managers to help them decide whether workplace vehicles could be used safely were not enacted.

Visits from environmental health officers in June 2004 and May 2005 identified further breaches of safety legislation like stock being left on pavements blocking access to the store for pedestrians and forcing them to walk on the road.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the HSWA 1974 in relation to the fork lift truck accident and Section 3(1) of the Act in relation to the health and safety breaches found in June 2004 and May 2005. In mitigation the company said that since the accident it has worked with Leicester City Council to improve safety at the store by drawing up a risk assessment specific to the site and erecting signs and road markings. The company was fined £40,000 under Section 2(1) of the HSWA and £40,000 for breaching Section 3(1). It was also ordered to pay costs of £150,000.