Forklift accidents

Six tonne load kills worker

A Wandsworth company, has been fined £100,000 after a worker was fatally injured when he was crushed by six tonnes of stone slabs whilst unloading a vehicle. Two of his colleagues were injured in the incident, which occurred on March 20, 2008.

The Directors were fined in April 2010 after the death of the 51-year-old who was a grandfather, and died from his injuries in hospital a week after the incident.

The court heard that the truck was parked on a slope, which contributed to the incident. The subsequent HSE investigation revealed that an unsafe system of work for unloading vehicles had been operated by the company for a number of years. Failings included not insisting on deliveries being unloaded on flat level ground and ensuring that the slabs were restrained at all times.

The HSE prosecuted the company and its two directors, one of whom was supervising the unloading activity. The company was fined £100,000 at Southwark Crown Court and ordered to pay costs of £47,564 after pleading guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Judge Taylor also handed out separate £10,000 fines to both Directors after they each pleaded guilty to two breaches of Section 37 of the Act.

Last month, they appealed against the six-figure fine, claiming it was “manifestly excessive” and citing mitigating factors such as the company’s otherwise responsible attitude towards health and safety, its guilty plea and co-operation with investigators. However, Mrs Justice Sharp, sitting with Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Bean, threw out the appeal and upheld the original ruling.