Forklift Injury Leads To Prosecution

Buxton Company In Dock Over Worker's Leg Injuries

19.08.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A food packaging company in Derbyshire has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over safety failings that led to one of its staff sustaining severe leg injuries in a collision with a forklift truck.

Primopost was taken to court over the incident at its factory in Staden Park, Buxton, in November 2012.

Employee Michael Booth had passed some cleaning materials to a colleague when he stepped back and turned round, only to be struck by a forklift truck carrying a large reel of film.

This collision caused Mr Booth to suffer three fractures to his right leg, resulting in him spending six days in hospital as he had metal bars and pins inserted.

An HSE investigation found the company had not established a safe working system at the site. High Peak Magistrates Court in Buxton heard that the company should have had a separate walkway in place to keep pedestrians isolated from moving vehicles, or have found a different way of moving goods around the premises. Indeed, the factory switched from forklift trucks to slower-moving pallet trucks to move goods after the incident.

Primopost pleaded guilty at the hearing to a breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and a breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stuart Parry commented: "Forklift trucks are responsible for around a quarter of all injuries involving workplace transport and so it's vital companies have systems in place to keep them away from pedestrians. This can be as simple as painting a white line on the floor."

HSE guidance on the use of forklift trucks also includes a code of practice that sets out the level of training drivers should receive before they are allowed to operate them, due to the potential they have to cause injuries.

The body notes that accidents involving such vehicles are often the consequence of poor training and supervision.

Expert Opinion
This company’s failure to offer a safe pedestrian route for its workers had serious consequences for Mr Booth, as he suffered injuries which required surgery.

“Accidents at work involving forklift trucks are all too common and the dangers of staff working in close proximity to moving vehicles are well documented. Employers have been given guidance by the HSE on how they can ensure a safe working environment and keep staff and contractors safe. It is often the case that simple preventative measures such as clearly marked pedestrian walkways are all that is required to keep employees safe.

“We hope this successful prosecution serves as a warning about the importance of adhering to health and safety guidelines to protect workers and prevent incidents such as this taking place in the future.”
Jonathan Peacock, Partner