UCH Logistics Limited was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for its failure to segregate vehicles and people in a yard where the danger of an accident was “entirely foreseeable”, according to the safety watchdog.
An employee of the logistics firm Andrew Elliss was hit by a reversing fork-lift truck at the yard, in Staines, Middlesex, in September 2014. CCTV footage from the site revealed forklift trucks loading and unloading vans, with pedestrians walking between them.
The worker, now aged 53, from Isleworth, suffered head injuries that continue to effect him, Redhill Magistrates’ Court heard.
No markings were put in place
UCH Logistics said its yard had been resurfaced several years ago but no markings were put in place to separate vehicles and people.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Russell Beckett, who investigated and prosecuted this case, said workplace transport incidents were the third highest cause of workplace fatalities. “Accidents can be prevented if companies implement simple control measures,” said Beckett.
“The need to walk through this area was clearly foreseeable and the risk from vehicle traffic was high. When I saw the CCTV footage, it was clear this was an accident waiting to happen.”
Fined £20,000 and ordered to costs
UCH Logistics Limited, of Skylink House, Stanwell Moor Road, Staines, Middlesex, pleaded guilty to breaching the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 – specifically Regulations 17(1). It was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay HSE costs of £942.40.
In August, a Norfolkbased transport firm was fined £150,000 for safety failings after a driver suffered lifechanging injuries in November 2012 and later died two years after the accident in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.
HSE advice on workplace transport regulations is available here.
Meanwhile, many serious accidents involving forklift trucks in the food and drink manufacturing sector could be avoided by better factory layout, which segregates pedestrians from trucks, according to the forklift truck training accrediting body RTITB, formerly the Road Transport Industry Training Board.
Improved driver training was also identified as a key means of preventing accidents.