Forklift accident

Teenager injured by forklift - Nuneaton firm fined

21 March 2011 A Nuneaton recycling company has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an 18-year-old employee was pinned to the ground by a forklift truck.

The employee, who has asked not to be identified, was using the forklift to unload a vehicle for the company on St George's Way, when it overturned and landed on top of him.

He broke his left lower leg, dislocated his left ankle and his left elbow was broken, crushed and dislocated as a result of the incident on 1 March 2010. He was in hospital for nearly a month, has had at least five operations on his left arm and is no longer able to straighten this arm fully.

Nuneaton Magistrates' Court heard today that the teenager, who had been working for the company for three weeks in his first proper job since leaving education, had received no formal training on operating a forklift truck and no induction training.

An HSE investigation found that other employees also operated forklift trucks without formal training and the yard area was unsupervised.

Also, the only supply of drinking water on site was from a blue hose lying on the floor behind a portable building.

The company was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 22 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. The company was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £2,832 costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Michelle Morrison commented:

"This was an entirely preventable incident which caused serious injuries to an employee in his first job.

"Forklift trucks are involved in nearly a quarter of all workplace transport accidents, often because of poor supervision and inadequate training.

"All companies that use lift trucks must train operators to a minimum standard set by HSE. The company failed to do this.

"The company also failed to provide water that was suitable for its staff to drink. It's a basic necessity that everyone should be able to drink clean water and such disregard for staff welfare is unacceptable."

The company went into liquidation in January 2011, is no longer trading and as a result did not attend the court hearing.