Forklift accident

Six year old boy dies while riding on a forklift truck

young child killed by forkliftA London port has been ordered to pay out £250,000 after a six-year-old boy died while riding on a forklift truck at the dock.

The boy, the son of port worker, was being taken for a ride on the truck by his father in August 2003 when the accident happened. Their truck collided with a second truck and the boy was thrown to the ground. He was then crushed by a three-quarter tonne paper reel which had fallen from the second truck because it was not clamped into place.

Croydon Crown Court heard that the subsequent HSE inspection found a series of sloppy work practices at the company which had been sanctioned by management. These, it turned out, contravened their own training instructions as well as specific advice given by HSE on carrying paper reels.

Thus while two paper reels were clamped to the truck for transport, a third unsecured reel was routinely balanced on top. This practice, known as 'carrying a rider', had gone on for a number of years despite the fact that equipment was available which could clamp all three.

The port pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the HSWA 1974, and was fined £100,000, wrth costs of £157,000. In mitigation the port said that carrying a third reel was a common practice at ports in the UK. It added that it had believed at the time that if the rider was carried under controlled circumstances it was not unsafe.

After the case, investigating HSE inspector Eddie Scoggins said: "Moving the paper reels was a routine part of work at the docks. Had the company undertaken a proper risk assessment and stopped the practice of carrying riders, the completely unnecessary death of the young boy would not have happened."