Forklift accident

Company and mechanic fined after driver killed

A Plant Hire company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation into the death of an employee who died at its site in Thame Road, Buckinghamshire, on 10 April 2007.

Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court heard the 42 year old deceased man from Bicester worked as a heavy goods driver for the company. On the day of the incident he was operating a fork lift truck, transporting and loading digger buckets onto flatbed lorries, when the fork lift overturned and he suffered fatal injuries.

The HSE investigation found the plant hire company failed to ensure that the fork lift truck was in good working order when the operator came to use it. A company mechanic had previously incorrectly modified the brakes on the fork lift truck which the deceased was operating. By doing this he failed to ensure the health and safety of his co-worker.

The company, based in Oakley, Buckinghamshire, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000. The company mechanic pleaded guilty to contravening section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

After the hearing, Peter Burns, HSE Inspector, said: “When the fork lift driver went to work on 10 April 2007, his family expected him to return home safely, but the failings of his employers mean he’ll never go home again. This prosecution serves to show just how important it is for companies to take their health and safety obligations seriously. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute any firm that fails to do so.”