Forklift accidents

Recycling firm sentenced after forklift accident

Oct 10th 2012. A recycling firm, which ignored warnings about safety at its plant in Warrington, has been sentenced after a worker was struck by a forklift truck.

The truck was carrying a large bale of crushed aluminium cans when it hit the 43-year-old man as he walked across the warehouse floor at the site on Thelwall Lane in Latchford. The worker, who doesn't wish to be named, suffered damage to his ankles and feet.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident on 18 November 2010.

Warrington Magistrates' Court heard today that HSE inspectors had given the company advice about improving the vehicle and pedestrian segregation four months before the incident. Workers at the plant had also previously raised concerns about the issue.

The court was told forklift trucks were regularly used in the warehouse, but there was not an adequate system in place to keep vehicles away from pedestrians.

The company pleaded guilty to a breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 by failing to ensure workers and vehicles could move safely around the site. The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £3,365 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Martin Heywood said:

"The company received previous warnings from HSE and its own workers about how vehicles operated in the warehouse, but it failed to act on these.

They didn't carry out a proper assessment of the risks and, as a result, there was no system for keeping forklift trucks away from pedestrians.

They have since made significant improvements and forklifts can now operate safely within the warehouse. However, it's disappointing that it took the injury of a worker for these changes to be made."

Advice for companies on how vehicles can be kept at a safe distance from pedestrian workers is available here.