In the UK, 25 per cent of workplace transport injuries are a direct result of forklift accidents. Every working day, five lives are changed because of accidents involving forklift trucks, with around 1,300 employees hospitalised following these kinds of accidents each year. With the number of forklift accidents being so high, it is important for employers to ensure all staff are fully trained and follow all health and safety procedures before starting any work.
A male worker from scaffolding company, Whiterose Scaffolding (Leeds) Ltd, was left with life changing injuries after being crushed by a forklift truck. He was using the truck in the yard when the vehicle overturned and trapped him underneath for some time. He now has severe mobility issues and lives with chronic pain.
An investigation led by the Health and Safety Executive found that the company had failed to provide training to its employees on the safe operations of forklift trucks. This training would have covered the importance of wearing seat belts too. The company also failed to provide adequate supervision and monitoring of the forklift truck operators to ensure they were only operated by trained drivers and that safe driving techniques were followed.
Leeds Magistrates Court heard how Whiterose Scaffolding (Leeds) Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 which states ‘the provision and maintenance of a working environment for employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards to facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.’ The company has been fined £54,270 and ordered to pay costs of £8,000.
It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure its workers have the necessary information, instructions and training for a safe system of working. In this case, the victim’s injuries could have been fatal and other employees were at risk due to the lack of appropriate training and monitoring.