Transport Company fined after forklift truck fatality

Mr Reginald Bacon was working as a forklift driver at Fortec Distribution Network Limited’s pallet hub at Watling Park, Watford Village, Northamptonshire. On 13th October 2016, Mr Bacon was unloading goods from the trailer of a large goods vehicle (LGV) and whilst his forks were inside the trailer to remove a pallet from the side of the trailer, the LGV drove forward; this caused the forklift to tip over on its side. Mr Bacon was not wearing his seatbelt correctly and tried to jump clear from his truck, however sustained fatal head injuries.

The HSE investigation found that the company’s risk assessment failed to identify the risk of an LGV driving away whilst being loaded or unloaded. The company also failed to recognise that the system of work being followed was different from its documented systems of work, including the monitoring and supervision of wearing seatbelts correctly when operating forklift trucks. The system being used for moving LGV’s through their warehouse was unsafe.

Fortec Distribution Network Limited of High Wycombe, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £107,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,436.97.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Samantha Wells said, “Dutyholders have a responsibility to devise safe methods of work, effectively risk assess and then provide this information, instruction and training to their workers. The safe methods of work should be monitored and supervised by those in control, to ensure those safe methods have been implemented and are being adhered to.”

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