HSE Reports on a Fatal Forklift Truck Accident

A recent press release from Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlights the case of Shaun Flynn who died of his injuries following a forklift truck accident. Mr Flynn had just finished loading a lorry in the yard of Boss Scaffolding Limited when he was struck from behind by the raised forks of a moving counterbalance forklift truck.

HSE Reports on a Fatal Forklift Truck Accident

An investigation by HSE found that the Boss Scaffolding director and an employee failed to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others who might be affected by poor management of risks arising from the use of counterbalance forklift truck in a state of disrepair.

Boss Scaffolding director pleaded guilty of breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was sentenced to 10 weeks imprisonment, suspended for eighteen months and ordered to pay £7,000 fine and £45,000 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Jenna McDade said: “This case highlights the importance of regular pro-active maintenance and inspection of work equipment, to ensure equipment does not deteriorate to the extent that it puts people at risk. Sadly the tragic death of Mr Flynn could have been prevented”.

A Thorough Examination (TE) is a mandatory inspection required by law to ensure that the mechanical parts of a forklift truck are in safe working order and is roughly equivalent to the MOT for cars. Work equipment must be examined at least once a year. Read our blog on “Thorough Examination of a Forklift Truck“, for more information.

As reported in previous blogs, around 1,300 UK employees are hospitalised each year with serious injuries following forklift accidents. The debilitating and life-changing injuries suffered include, complex fractures, dislocations, deglovings and amputations. Forklift truck accidents cause most serious accidents in a workplace in UK, even more than heavy goods vehicles.

There are a number of reasons why forklifts are so dangerous in a workplace, including:

  • Forklifts can weigh up to 4 tonnes (more than twice the weight of an average family car)
  • Their speeds can reach up to 18mph (over 28kmh)
  • Forklifts often raise hefty loads to considerable heights, a dangerous combination
  • Loads are usually carried in the front of a forklift, which can obstruct the view of the driver
  • Forklifts are often operated in busy areas with lot of people around
  • Forklifts only have brakes on the front tyres, making them difficult to stop
  • Forklifts have counterweights or batteries at the rear to compensate for lifting heavy weights. This uneven weight distribution makes it difficult to handle
  • The rear wheels control the turning circle which cause the rear end to swing outward and this increases the chances of tipping over during tight turns

To avoid forklift accidents at the workplace, ensure that the equipment is well maintained, operated by a trained driver and appropriate safety procedures are in place.

Wallace School of Transport is a fully accredited RTITB company with over 50 years' experience. You can be trained either at your own work site or at Wallace Centre in Park Royal. If you have any questions, call Wallace Forklift Training for free on 0800 612 8948, choose option 3 or click here to email us.

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