Scaffolding company MD receives suspended sentence and fine for maintenance failings

The Managing Director of a scaffolding company has been fined after an employee died when he was struck from behind by a Counterbalance Truck (Forklift).

Back in June 2016, an employee was struck from behind by the raised forks of a moving forklift truck while finishing the loading of a lorry in the yard of the company, he later died of his injuries.

Having conducted an investigation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the lead scaffolding director had failed to take responsible care for the health and safety of others who could have been affected by the poor management of the potential risks that could arise from the use of a forklift truck in a state of disrepair.

The Managing Director was sentenced to 10 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £45,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

HSE Inspector Jenna McDade said: “This case highlights the importance of regular proactive 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 could have been prevented. Companies and individuals should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Almost every week RTITB hears from the HSE about an incident or accident in material handling equipment (MHE) operations. To ensure HSE guidelines are followed, employers are required to provide adequate supervision for material handling operations according to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. That’s one of the reasons RTITB  launched a new eLearning course ‘Managing and Supervising Material Handling Equipment Operations’. To upskill to supervisor or manager level, you do not need to be a qualified lift truck operator, but you are legally required by PUWER (Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations) to receive training that enables you to understand potential risks posed by the equipment, and how to avoid or prevent them. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ACoP L117 states that “users, supervisors, and managers must receive adequate training for the purposes of health and safety”. Learn more here.

Source: HSE

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