A vehicle recycling company has been fined after a forklift became unstable, crushing a man to death.
In February 2018, Paul Spence was on the site of Michael Douglas Auto Salvage, based in Carlisle. Mr Spence had purchased a forklift from the company, and was lifting it onto a recovery vehicle, using the site’s skip lorry. The metal ring on the lift truck that the winch wire was attached to failed, causing the forklift to become unstable. The truck fell, trapping and fatally crushing Mr Spence against the skip lorry. He was declared dead at the scene.
Following the incident, Mr Spence’s family appointed a specialist workplace accident lawyer. Sion Kingston, who was appointed by the Spence family, commented “Through our work we sadly see the consequences that families can be left to face because of failings in health and safety. While nothing will change what happened, it is imperative that lessons are learned and proper procedures are put in place where necessary, to ensure that similar incidents do not occur.”
An investigation carried out by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlighted that a competent person would have been aware that the loading method and use of equipment was unsuitable for the task, and would be unsafe. The company had also failed to complete any form of plan for lifting tasks of this nature and they had failed in its duty to not expose customers to risk.
HSE inspector, Matthew Tinsley, said “This incident could so easily have been avoided should the lift have been properly planned and appropriate equipment and safe working practices been employed as a result. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against though that fall below the required standards.”
Michael Douglas Autosalvage Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They received a fine of £23,000, with further costs of £8,000.
Source: Letsrecycle.com, Vehicle recycler fined after customer death, 22nd January 2020. Read the full article from letsreycle.com.