Forklift fatality lands drinks firm with £800k fine

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Pcitured: A still taken from CCTV footage of Kingland Drinks Ltd's depot
Pcitured: A still taken from CCTV footage of Kingland Drinks Ltd's depot

Related tags Drinks Hse

Wine and drinks supplier Kingsland Drinks Ltd has been fined £800k after an HGV driver was killed after being hit by a forklift truck at its Salford depot.

Manchester Magistrates Court heard how on 19 August 2020 the victim, John Fitzpatrick, was waiting for his trailer to be loaded at the company’s site in Irlam when the incident happened.

Fitzpatrick suffered serious head injuries in the incident and died in hospital having never regained consciousness.

HSE investigation

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company’s risk assessment was out of date and not fit for purpose and that there was no pedestrian and vehicle segregation in place in the loading area. Also, visiting drivers were not given clear information about site safety.

Kingsland Drinks Ltd of The Winery, Fairhills Road, Irlam, Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The drinks firm was fined £800,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,614.30.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sharon Butler said Fitzpatrick’s death could have been prevented if clear controls had been in place for visiting drivers.

‘Easy steps’

“Companies who have loading areas need to provide information and instructions to visiting drivers and have clear segregation in place to ensure the site is safe for all who use it,”​ she added. “Easy steps can be taken to reduce the risk of visiting drivers becoming injured on site.”

Being struck by a moving vehicle was the second most common cause of workplace fatalities in 2022, accounting for 19% of reported deaths, according to HSE.

Last year, in May, seafood processor QA Fish Ltd was fined £80,000 after a worker died from injuries sustained when she was run over by a forklift.

Meanwhile, forklift truck users were warned by the Fork Lift Truck Association against making unauthorised modifications or repairs to trucks that could invalidate rental contracts and manufacturer warranties,​ leaving users to foot any repair bills.

Related topics Legal Drinks

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