Telehandler Death ‘Highlights Importance Of Vehicle Safety Measures’

Firm Fined Over Workplace Injury

07.04.2011

An incident in which a telehandler overturned and struck a man highlights just why vehicle safety measures play an important part in the workplace, according to a workplace injury specialist.

Ling Metals of Canterbury, Kent was fined £200,000 earlier this year in relation to an incident in 2007, when Darren Baker was hit by the bucket on the vehicle as it tipped forward. He died in hospital two days later.

A subsequent investigation revealed that the safe load indicator on the telehandler, which is used to ensure operators keep the materials carried by the vehicle within safe limits, was not correctly calibrated at the time.

Concerns were also raised about the vehicle’s safety certificate, while the operator also lacked a full understanding on how to use the machinery.

David Urpeth, national head of work accident claims at Irwin Mitchell, said: “It appears that this devastating incident has come about as a result of a series of safety failures which could have been easily prevented.

“Firms need to ensure they fully communicate instructions on the use of machinery to workers, as well as provide them with tools which allow them to operate them in a safe manner.

“Like so many of the incidents that have affected our own clients, this case demonstrates why health and safety simply cannot be ignored by companies.

“It is vital that lessons can be learnt from cases like this and a better focus is put on ensuring employees are able to use all equipment in the safest possible manner.”