Firm fined £140,000 over forklift truck driver death - Palmers Solicitors

Firm fined £140,000 over forklift truck driver death

A sauces manufacturer has been fined £140,000 after a forklift truck driver was killed at a factory in Cheshire as a result of a “chaotic and dangerous system”.

Michael Moran was using his forklift truck to load a lorry trailer outside the AAK UK Ltd factory on the Astmoor Industrial Estate in Runcorn on 18 April 2011 when another lorry reversed into the side of his vehicle, which overturned, killing him instantly.

In a criminal case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Liverpool Crown Court heard Mr Moran had been loading pallets onto the trailer. He had finished loading one side and had moved into the road to reach the other side of the trailer.

As he moved his forklift truck, a lorry that had been parked alongside the trailer started reversing. Mr Moran shouted and the lorry driver braked but his vehicle hit the forklift truck.

The court was told that the company had not carried out an adequate assessment of the risks to its employees or visiting drivers using the goods out area. Drivers were also not given any information, instruction or training on how to load lorry trailers safely and there was poor supervision.

AAK UK Ltd, of King George Dock, Hull, was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay £22,657 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing on 15 May, HSE inspector Deborah Walker said: “Our investigation revealed a chaotic and dangerous system, and sadly it was entirely foreseeable that someone was at risk of being badly injured or killed.

“Neither Mr Moran nor the lorry driver had any way of knowing they were both about to start operating their vehicles, and sadly Mr Moran did not have time to get out of the way when the HGV began to reverse.”

She said the company had now implemented “simple measures” to improve safety, adding that had they been in place at the time of the accident, Mr Moran’s death could have been avoided.

All employers are legally required to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees and any other people who might be affected by their activities, by assessing risks of injury or damage to health that could occur in the workplace and taking steps to manage and control these.

Workplace incidents have potentially far-reaching consequences for both businesses and individuals.  As part of our Health and Safety offering, we provide expert legal advice and representation at health and safety-related interviews and prosecutions.

For more information on our health and safety compliance services, please contact Lara Murray and for health and safety representation, please contact Jeremy Sirrell.