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Accident claims: forklift malpractice

Man operating a forklift
14th May 2014
A Livingston-based construction supply company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when he was run over twice by a forklift truck.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard a SIG Trading Ltd forklift driver was moving a large metal coil with a forklift truck inside the company's warehouse on Houston Industrial Estate.

The court was told the metal coil was loaded and as the forks were in the raised position, the driver's vision was restricted. The driver was unaware two other employees were in the warehouse but as he drove the truck forward two or three metres, he became aware of a colleague shouting and indicating to him to reverse.

Unaware he had already hit one of the workers knocking him to the ground and running over his right leg, he then reversed the truck over his co-worker's leg once again.

The injured man needed major surgery after the 31 March 2010 incident, including six pins and two steel plates in his shin, and screws in his ankle and toes. He is left with a permanent limp, scarring and constant pain.

The warehouse was shared by SIG Trading Limited and another subsidiary company based on the same site. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed no arrangements were in place in the warehouse to keep pedestrians and vehicles apart and vehicles from both companies moved freely around that part of the site.

HSE found employees had not received training on transport issues, no consideration had been given to operational restrictions caused by the use of the type of forklift truck for which employees had not had refresher retraining. Simple measures like issuing high-visibility garments for use in the warehouse had not been carried out.

HSE inspector Matthew Ramsey said:

"In 2009/10, more than 1,700 people were injured in transport incidents in the workplace. These kind of incidents are easily preventable, and simple, low cost measures can be put in place to prevent them occurring.

"After the incident, corrective measures including barriers, walkways and high-visibility garments were put in place and employees received training. The total cost of these simple measures was less than £4,500 but unfortunately they came too late for the injured man in this case."

At Livingston Sheriff Court today (22 August 2011) SIG Trading Limited, of Hillsborough Works, Langsett Road,Sheffield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and was fined £36,000.

Reported by Fiona Campbell