Forklift accidents

Man Crushed to death as forklift overturns

A man was crushed to death in a tragic lift truck accident after his vehicle hit an obstacle at a Northampton factory. The 31 year old man, an employee of the company, which makes earth-moving equipment, was killed at his employer's site in Pinford, Bourne in August 2007 as he was moving a large steel assembly on a 3.5t capacity fork-lift truck.

Lincoln Crown Court heard that a large vehicle frame was protruding onto the gangway, so the deceased decided to raise his truck's forks to clear it and continue on his way. His colleagues noticed that he'd hit the obstacle and shouted for him to stop in his tracks. He slammed on his brakes, causing his vehicle to overbalance a shade, and his load to strike the frame. This in turn caused the lift truck to spin and overturn, and though he tried to leap free, he was caught and crushed, dying instantly
The subsequent HSE inspection found that there was no effective traffic management system in place at the factory, and that this had contributed to the death. There was a lack of marked-out accessways and gangways and no way of assessing the size or weight of loads. On-site storage standards were poor, and employees were found to be moving around on unofficial and unmarked routes.

Investigating HSE inspector Jo Anderson said: "If vehicles including fork-lift trucks are to move around in the workplace, it is vital that clearly marked gangways are in place and that the risks arising from the loads being carried are controlled."

The company pleaded guilty to failing to comply with Section 2(1) of the HSWA 1974, and was fined £7,500 with £6,690 costs. In mitigation, the firm said that it was suffering financially, and apologised for the accident.