Sauces firm fined £140,000 for forklift death

Forklift-truck-driving-fleet-news

TRAGIC: Michael Moran was killed instantly

A sauces manufacturer has been fined £140,000 for safety failings after a forklift truck driver was killed at a factory in Runcorn.

Michael Moran, 49, from Warrington, was killed instantly when a lorry reversed into the side of his forklift at AAK UK’s Astmoor Industrial Estate site in April 2011.

He was using the forklift to load a lorry trailer outside the factory.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigators found that forklift drivers had regularly driven onto a public road to load lorries, without the company putting any safety measures in place.

“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.”

Deborah Walker, HSE

Liverpool Crown Court heard Mr Moran had been loading pallets containing tubs of mayonnaise onto the trailer and, after finishing loading one side, moved into the road to reach the other side.

As he moved the forklift into position, a lorry that had been parked up alongside the trailer slowly started to reverse.

Mr Moran shouted out and the HGV driver applied his brakes, but it was too late to make a difference, with the lorry hitting the forklift truck.

The court were told vehicles regularly visited the site with deliveries or to pick up loads of mayonnaise to distribute, with most reversing down Davy Road to avoid having to turn around in the cul-de-sac.

AAK had not carried out an adequate assessment of the risks to their employees or visiting drivers using the ‘Goods Out’ area.

Drivers were also not given any information, instruction or training on how to load the lorry trailers safely, said HSE, and there was poor supervision.

AAK UK Ltd, of King George Dock, Hull, were 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.

Deborah Walker, Inspector at the HSE, 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.

“Following the incident, the company created a no-parking zone along the ‘Goods Out’ area by Davy Road which means there is now space for forklift truck drivers to load trailers without having to come out into the road.

“The firm also set up a booking-in system for vehicles delivering to the factory.

“If these simple measures had been in place at the time of the incident then Mr Moran’s tragic death could have been avoided.”

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