HGV Driver killed in a Forklift Truck Accident

John Fitzpatrick was waiting for his trailer to be loaded at Kingsland Drinks Ltd., a wine and drinks supplier’s depot in Irlam, Salford on 19 August 2020 when he was struck by a forklift truck. He suffered serious head injuries in the fatal accident. The 59 year old driver never regained consciousness after the forklift truck accident.

HGV Driver Killed in a Forklift Truck accident

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), found the company had failed on a number of areas including:

  • The risk assessment was out of date and not fit for purpose,
  • There was no pedestrian and vehicle (including forklift truck) segregation in the loading area
  • Visiting drivers were not given clear information about safety

At a sentencing hearing at Manchester Magistrate’s Court on 25 January 2023, Kingsland Drinks Ltd of the Winery, Fairhills Road, Irlam, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work Act. The Health and Safety at Work Act Section 2(1) states “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees”.

And section 3(1) covers General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees. Section 3(1) states “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety”.

The company was fined a massive £800,000 and ordered to pay costs £5614.

Sharon Butler of HSE said after the hearing, “This death would have been prevented if clear controls had been in place for visiting drivers. Companies who have loading areas need to provide information and instructions to visiting drivers and have clear segregation in place to ensure the site is safe for all who use it. Easy steps can be taken to reduce the risks of visiting drivers becoming injured on site.”

Ruth Wallace of Wallace Forklift Training London, said, “ it was heart-rending to read the personal statement from Paula Fitzpatrick, John’s partner. It seems John was a hard working, full of life character who got on well with everyone. His loss must be devastating for the family. Such accidents shouldn’t happen. If you are reading this, you may be interested in our recent blog entitled, Segregation of Forklift Trucks and Pedestrians”.

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