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Forklift Death Demonstrates Need For Machinery Safety Measures

Firm And Plant Operator Fined


The death of an Oxfordshire construction worker who was crushed in a car hit by the extended boom of a forklift truck demonstrates the importance of ensuring all employees are fully informed on how to use machinery safely, according to an injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell.

Linden Limited and construction plant operator Keith Payne, of Banbury, Oxfordshire, have been fined a total of £14,500 over the incident in 2008, which occurred when Mr Payne was carrying out routine checks on a telehandler.

However, as he raised and extended the boom of the vehicle, it tipped over and its forks crushed the roof of car in which three workers, including Michael Whateley, were waiting for a building plot to be unlocked.

Mr Whateley died in the incident, while the other two workers in the car suffered spinal and brain injuries.

An investigation revealed that Mr Payne should have followed operating instructions for the machinery, while Linden also failed to ensure the truck was properly maintained.

David Urpeth, a Partner who specialises in accident at work cases for Irwin Mitchell, said: “Major lessons need to be learnt from this tragic and devastating case, particularly as the Health and Safety Executive highlighted that this work accident could have been avoided.

"This terrible but avoidable accident left one person dead and two others with devastating injuries

“All workers need to be fully aware of how they should operate machinery on construction sites, particularly when it is close enough to raise concerns that other people could be harmed.

“In addition, I urge all construction firms to properly consider the maintenance of their vehicles is carried out safely and correctly. Such efforts should help move towards preventing anything like this happening again.”