Forklift accidents

Man forges forklift licence and breaks worker's back

A man who forged his credentials and fooled a firm into employing him as a lift truck operator has been fined after he broke a colleague's back with his vehicle, The driver who was 21, was operating a telehandler at a house­building site in Livingstone, Scotland in October 2007. Livingstone Sheriff Court heard that the accident happened when he was transferring timber house frames from a flatbed lorry to the ground without deploying the stabilisers, The lift truck overbalanced, and lost his three-tonne load, crushing and severely injuring a banksman, who suffered a broken back and ankle.

He had only been working at the site for a few weeks, and the court was told that part of the documentation he provided proving his training and experience was found to be fraudulent, HSE inspector Bruce Monaghan said that the accident was entirely foreseeable."Failure to deploy the stabilisers was a serious omission, particularly because the banksman was obviously nearby. Operators must adhere to correct operating procedures otherwise serious incidents will result," he added,

"Additionally, this incident underlines the fact that employers and users of fork-lift trucks must check the experience and qualifications of those they employ in a particularly searching and careful way, Companies should be alert to the possibility that documentation presented as evidence of training, experience and competence can be invalid if obtained on the basis of false or misleading information,"

The operator pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 7 of the HSWA 1974, for not taking reasonable care of the health and safety of his colleagues, He was fined £500; no costs are awarded in Scotland. In mitigation, he apologised. The HSE decided not to prosecute his employer because it had correctly checked the driver's proof of competence, even though it proved false,