Adhesive Manufacturer Fined Following Worker Death

Firm Fined £173,332 After Worker Is Crushed Between Forklift And Lorry

09.12.2013

An internationally-recognised adhesive manufacturer has been fined for safety failings that resulted in a worker being crushed to death.

Mapei UK of Steel Park Road, Halesowen, was ordered to pay £173,332 after pleading guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. The amount of costs to be paid will be agreed in due course.

Andrew Davies, 43, died when he was trapped between a cage that was suspended from the forks of his lifting machine and an 18-tonne lorry.

He was working at Mapei UK's Steel Park Road base on 1 July 2010 when the accident happened.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how the driver of the heavy goods vehicle had been asked to move his truck so workers could gain access to a loading area.

As he reversed, he inadvertently crushed Mr Davies, who died instantly from severe head injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that no measures had been put in place to segregate pedestrians and vehicles.

The yard did not have designated walkways or traffic routes and there was no process to restrict the movement of moving machinery.

It also emerged the company had previously been warned via independent safety reports that the lack of traffic segregation was a major risk that needed to be addressed.

This is a common problem in UK factories and manufacturing plants, with HSE figures suggesting that nearly a quarter of all workplace transport accidents involve a forklift truck in some way.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Mahesh Mahey said numerous health and safety failings led to the "tragic" and "needless" accident.

"The dangers associated with vehicle movements are obvious and have been highlighted by HSE for many years," he commented.

"There were long-term, systematic failings by the company to adequately assess the risks and take sufficient control measures to ensure the transport yard was operated without posing a risk to the safety of those working there."

Mr Mahey confirmed that Mapei UK has since introduced more effective controls to regulate the movement of pedestrians and vehicles.