Forklift accident

Forklift falls over in hands of unqualified driver

April 2011. Two companies are due to be sentenced for a "catalogue of breaches" of health and safety rules after a teenager was seriously injured when a fork lift truck toppled over.

Plymouth magistrates heard that a 17-year-old trainee broke his pelvis when the vehicle capsized as he changed light bulbs 20ft above a warehouse floor. The court was told a colleague at the wheel had no qualification to drive the fork lift truck.

The injured worker was in a cage strapped to the raised forks of the vehicle at the time of the accident.

The employer admitted failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees. The warehouse owner, a separate company, admitted breaching its duty to protect non-employees carrying out work on its premises.

Magistrates ruled that the case was so serious that it should be heard at Plymouth Crown Court. Presiding magistrate Jennifer Hulbert said: "We consider there was a catalogue of breaches by individuals at both defendant companies where serious injuries were sustained."

Steve Panton, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive, said that the man's employers sent two of its trainees to change light bulbs and clean plastic light covers. The injured man and a 21 year-old colleague attended the warehouse at Newnham Industrial Estate without anyone supervising them on August 7,2009, the court heard.

Mr Panton said that the 21 year old drove the other person in a 'man cage' strapped to the raised forks of one of the company's vehicles. He added that during the job, which took more than 90 minutes, he drove from light to light without lowering the forks.

Mr Panton said: "Due to its raised centre of gravity, the whole truck went over on its side." He added that the injured man fractured his pelvis in two places.