In recent months there has been a series of prosecutions in relation to unsafe fork lift truck use. These prosecutions highlighted the serious nature of injuries that can result from driving a fork lift truck and if struck by a fork lift truck.
The first two instances involved being struck by a fork lift truck, with injuries ranging from serious injuries to both legs and a fracture to the lower leg.
The third instance involved the fork lift truck overturning and the driver being trapped beneath the truck and suffering life changing internal injuries.
Alternative Parcel Company (APC) Overnight Ltd agency employee suffered serious injuries to both legs after he was hit and run over by a forklift truck (FLTs). Investigation by HSE highlighted inadequate safety induction including the measures to keep pedestrians and fork lift trucks separated. There was no control of the keys and FLTs’ were permitted into certain areas during day shift but banned from same areas during night shift
APC plead guilty, to breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,500.
United Cast Bar (UK) Ltd, employee was working in a holding bay to undertake checks. An FLT collided with him. He suffered a fracture to his lower leg. HSE found the company failed to identify through risk assessment there was potential for vehicle and pedestrian collision in the holding bay area.
United Cast Bar (UK) Ltd plead guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and were fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,439.17
Employee of Whiterose Scaffolding (Leeds) Ltd was using a forklift truck in the yard when the vehicle overturned, trapping him underneath it for some time. The employee sustained serious life changing internal injuries. HSE found the company had failed to provide training to their employees on the safe operations of forklift trucks, which would have included the importance of wearing seat belts, and also failed to provide adequate supervision and monitoring of the forklift truck operators to ensure they were only operated by trained drivers
Whiterose Scaffolding (Leeds) Ltd were fined for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 £54,270 and ordered to pay £8000 in costs.
To ensure safe use of fork lift trucks, make sure there is:
- A suitable risk assessment to include drivers competence, warning devices and clear workplace understanding of FLT operational areas
- Potential alcohol and drug testing of FLT drivers?
- Suitable segregation of fork lift truck and pedestrians.
- Control of the keys.
- Suitable monitoring of the wearing seat belts and alarm warning devices.
- Refresher training of drivers on site.
Maintenance/ servicing to comply with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.