Use of Forklift Truck as a Substitute for Scaffolding

In a rare case, onlookers spotted a man working at height while standing on a pallet which was raised by a forklift truck. This was recorded on a video and reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Usually HSE are involved in inspecting sites for compliance of Health and Safety Regulations or following a serious workplace accident.

In this case, an employee of European Active Projects (EAP) Limited was spotted precariously working from height while standing on a pallet raised by a forklift truck at Ramsgate harbour.

Forklift Truck used as a mobile platform

A team of three were removing work equipment from a deck of a boat in the harbour’s slipway. As the scaffolding had been removed, the workers raised a pallet to the deck of the boat with a forklift truck and used it as a mobile platform. One of the employees was seen climbing from the side of the boat onto the pallet with a heavy motorised pressure washer which was lowered to the ground. The case received wide publicity including the BBC.

The HSE investigation found EAP Limited failed to plan the work at height as part of refurbishment and repair work being completed on the boat. There was no safe method of removing the equipment located on the boat’s deck, resulting in the use of forklift truck and a pallet as a mobile platform, thus risking the employees’ safety.

EAP Limited of Chatham docks, Kent pleaded guilty to breaching Section 4(1) of Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £5730 in costs at Maidstone Magistrates Court on 20 December 2023.

HSE inspector Samuel Brown said: “This incident demonstrates why there is a need to appropriately plan and supervise work at height. Clearly, lessons had not been learnt since the company’s previous prosecution in 2015.

Falls from height are still the biggest cause of fatal accidents involving workers. The risk of workers falling from the pallet and sustaining serious, possibly fatal, injuries should not be ignored. Fortunately, no workers were harmed and the reporting of the incident by a concerned member of public enabled HSE to intervene and prevent any further unsafe work at height on site”.  Click here to view HSE’s Brief Guide to Working at Height.

An update from our recent Latest News Article – LPG Forklift Truck Fire Risk Warning – The cause of the LPG forklift truck fires has been identified as a build-up of deposits in the evaporator, flow regulator and shut-off valve. The build-up of deposits is caused by LPG fuel contamination. Historically this contamination was not present in the LPG fuel. UKMHA report that this fuel is still available on the UK market and the fuel standard BS 4250 does not provide adequate controls for this contamination, which is part of the HSE investigation.

Wallace School of Transport including Forklift Training in London is a fully accredited RTITB company with over 60 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 on 020 8453 3440, choose option 3 or click here to email us.

Scroll to Top