Firm fined £5,000 after forklift overturns

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 09:30
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FINED: Second time for Radford HMY Group

A Tyneside company have been fined £5,000 after appearing in court for safety breaches for the second time in less than a year.

Radford HMY Group saw a forklift overturn at their factory in Burnopfield in June 2012, with its driver, a 51-year-old agency worker, narrowly escaping injury.

The same company were fined £2,000 in October 2013 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, for an incident in February 2012 when a worker’s hand was badly crushed in a machine on which a safety guard had been deliberately disabled.

Investigators from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported the forklift truck overturning as a dangerous occurrence, proceeding to prosecute the company.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard earlier this month that the forklift truck had been driven, during a night shift, on a ‘totally unsuitable’ outside path.

The path was only 40cm wider than the truck, and was raised above the adjacent ground in places along its length of 150metres.

Investigators also found the driver was not assessed or authorised to operate the truck and had not been made familiar with the controls.

It was also discovered that the agency worker had been taken on as a cleaner with no requirement for him to operate a forklift truck.

Radford HMY Group Ltd, of Newcastle, were fined a total of £5,000 – £2,500 for each offence – and ordered to pay £3,824.45 costs after pleading guilty to two offences of breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Cain Mitchell, Inspector at the HSE, said: “This incident was entirely preventable and it is extremely fortunate that the driver was not seriously injured.

“Radford HMY Group Ltd had failed to adequately assess the risks to employees using this path and the operator in this instance had received no training at all in the use of a forklift truck.

“The case is all the more serious as it is the second time in less than a year that Radford HMY Group Ltd has been prosecuted for safety failings.

“Every year, there are numerous incidents involving transport in the workplace, many of which result in people being injured or even killed.

“People can fall from vehicles, and can be knocked down, run over, or crushed against fixed parts, plant and trailers.”

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