Company fined after worker hit by fork-lift truck

A company has been prosecuted for health and safety failings after an employee was struck by a reversing fork-lift truck at its depot in Stevenage.

Portable toilet hire firm Elliott Ltd – previously known as Elliott Loohire Ltd – was ordered to pay a £7,000 fine and £3,198 in prosecution costs yesterday (Monday 5 July) after it admitted breaching health and safety law at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that the Depot Manager, Raymond Morris, was standing in the yard area with his back turned towards the toilet wash bay at the firm’s depot in Crompton Road, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, when he was struck on 18 June 2008.

Mr Morris, 38, of Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, suffered multiple fractures to his right foot.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the depot’s yard had been poorly designed, and the view of drivers was obstructed. The yard also did not have adequately segregated routes separating pedestrians and vehicles.

Elliott Ltd, of Manor Drive, Peterborough, admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

HSE Inspector Rauf Ahmed said:

“This incident could and should have been prevented. Workplace transport is a priority area for health and safety and workers being hit by reversing vehicles is a well known danger.

“Employers must ensure that the interaction between moving vehicles and pedestrians in the workplace is managed properly. If workplaces are properly designed then the chances of someone being injured like this are greatly reduced.

“There is plenty of free advice and guidance available from HSE to help businesses comply with the law and keep people safe.

“HSE will not hesitate to take action against companies failing to comply with the law.”

Since 1998/99 there has been an average of 61 fatalities each year involving workplace transport, as well as more than 2,150 major injuries.