Adhesive giant fined £170,000 for horror forklift impaling death

Monday, December 9, 2013 - 11:00
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TRAGIC: Andrew Davies died instantly

One of the world’s largest producers of construction industry adhesives have been fined nearly £175,000 after a worker was impaled and killed by a forklift truck.

Andrew Davies, 43, from Oldbury, died at Mapei UK, Halesowen, in July 2010, when a lorry reversed into him, pinning him against the cage resting on the forks of his forklift truck.

His head was impaled against the forks, killing him instantly.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard the tragic accident occurred after Mr Davies walked out of the cab and to the front of his forklift at the same time the lorry driver was asked to move his vehicle.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed ‘significant’ safety failings by Mapei UK, who pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company were fined £173,332, with costs to be agreed at a later date.

HSE found Mapei UK had failed to segregate pedestrians and vehicles adequately in order to organise, supervise, manage and run their transport yard.

The yard did not have defined traffic routes or walkways, there were no ground markings and the yard was open with no physical restrictions on movement.

A system was in place to restrict vehicle movement whereby all drivers handed in their vehicle keys on arrival, but this did not apply to all vehicles.

In this instance, the lorry driver had not handed his keys in, meaning he did not have to seek Mapei UK’s authority or assistance when moving his vehicle.

HSE found the company considered the transport area a low priority in terms of risk, despite previous independent safety reports telling them the opposite.

Mahesh Mahey, Inspector at the HSE, said: “Numerous health and safety failings by Mapei UK Ltd led to this tragic incident in which Mr Davies needlessly lost his life.

“The dangers associated with vehicle movements are obvious and have been highlighted by HSE for many years.

“There were long-term, systematic failings by the company to adequately assess the risks and take sufficient control measures to ensure the transport yard was operated without posing a risk to the safety of those working there.

“Since Mr Davies’ death, Mapei UK Ltd has implemented more effective controls of vehicle movements, limiting movements to one vehicle at a time and installing a traffic marshal to supervise vehicle manoeuvres.

“The operation which Mr Davies was carrying out is also now done away from other vehicles.”