Friday, 19 December 2014

Co Durham company fined after lorry driver was hit by a forklift truck

Meditek Ltd., a County Durham stairlift manufacturer was fined £5090.60 (inc. costs and compensation) after a delivery driver was seriously injured when he was struck by a reversing fork lift truck.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred in the goods in area of the company on 7 November 2013.
  • Although there was a risk assessment covering the “goods in” and “goods out” areas, it did not consider the foreseeable risk that people in those areas might be struck by a moving vehicle.
  • The management of vehicles and pedestrians was inadequate.
  • In particular, delivery drivers were allowed to walk around the loading area watching while their lorry was loaded.
  • The driver was heading back to his vehicle. 
  • The driver of the fork lift truck failed to ensure that there was no one behind him before he reversed.
  • The lorry driver saw the fork lift truck reversing towards him and he instinctively moved to his left, towards his trailer, in an attempt to avoid it.
  • However, the fork lift turned in the same direction, knocking him to the ground and running over both of his feet.
  • He suffered de-gloving of the big toe on his left foot and severe bruising and grazing to both feet and legs. He had to undergo surgery to repair his toe, but this was unsuccessful and the toe was amputated on 9 December 2013.
  • While some improvements were made by the company immediately following the incident, an Improvement Notice was still necessary to ensure external areas of the workplace were organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner.
  • The company complied with the notice by reviewing its management of pedestrians and vehicles across the factory, and by simply preventing delivery drivers from standing in the loading and unloading areas while the fork lift truck was operating.

The HSE inspector said:
“Meditek cooperated fully with HSE’s investigation and accepted that this incident was easily preventable had it identified the risks to pedestrians in the loading area associated with moving vehicles. The close proximity of the delivery driver in an area where a fork lift truck was reversing was unsafe. The risks associated with pedestrians and vehicles working in proximity to each other are well known and there is plenty of advice available on how to reduce those risks. This delivery driver suffered a serious injury because of the company’s failures.”

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