Forklift accident

Worker crushed under steel coil falling from forklift

HSE has once again been forced to issue a warning on the importance of controlling workplace transport, following the death of a man crushed by a load dislodged from a forklift truck. A Pontefract company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the HSWA 1974 at Leeds Crown Court, in connection with the death in January 2005 of a 58 year old employee. The firm was fined £ 50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £ 6,000,

The deceased was crushed when a coil of steel wire weighing more than 700kg fell from the forks of the truck and landed on him. The truck had been turning a corner and the driver had been forced to make an emergency stop to avoid hitting him.

HSE inspector Geoff Fletcher said that the subsequent investigation revealed a string of failings relating to workplace transport at the factory. The risk assessment for moving loads was inadequate as it did not take into account the movement of fork-trucks around the premises nor set out a suitable way of carrying the coils on the trucks. Furthermore, the traffic management onsite was non-existent with no segregation between pedestrians and vehicles. Finally, while lift truck operators had basic training, no formal job-specific or refresher training had been provided.

Fletcher added that the company should have found ways to better secure loads to the forks of the trucks, perhaps with a locking mechanism as well as a functioning system of traffic management. He also suggested an overhead lifting system to cut out the use of lift trucks entirely.

In mitigation the company said it regretted the Incident and tried to place some of the blame for the accident on the deceased himself and some on the driver of the truck both of whom they said should have paid more attention.