A manufacturing company has been fined £53,000 after an employee was fatally injured when the Counterbalance (Forklift) truck he was driving struck an overhead steel beam.
Back in June 2019, the employee was operating the forklift truck to move pallets at the company premises, when the mast of the truck hit a low overhead structural beam, which caused the truck to overturn. The employee was trapped underneath the roll cage and received fatal crush injuries.
The company was fined £53,360 and ordered to pay costs of £7,880, after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
During the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) investigation, they found that the traffic routes on-site required forklift trucks to travel under a number of overhead structural beams which only had a small clearance gap between the mast of the trucks at their lowest setting and the beams. There were also no hazard markings to highlight these overhead obstructions.
HSE Inspector Anthony Banks, said: “The company’s system of work was not safe. With the forklift trucks operating within such tight margins, the company simply relied on the assumption its employees would always remember to lower the forks to their lowest position whilst traveling underneath the overhead beams. The company not only failed to physically mark the overhead beams in a conspicuous way to provide the forklift truck operators with a prominent warning of the limited headroom, but the company also failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the traffic routes. When this was done after the incident, the revised traffic routes avoided the low overhead beams altogether.”