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LIFT TRUCK OPERATOR PROSECUTED

A second forklift operator is convicted after workplace deaths

A forklift truck driver whose actions contributed to the death of a colleague has today been fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

The prosecution follows an incident at haulage company Joda Freight on 14 March 2006. The court heard that operator his colleague to use the forks of the truck he was driving as an impromptu lift to access pallets on the second deck of a two-tier lorry.

He slipped and fell from the forklift, sustaining serious injuries that required prolonged treatment in hospital. He died two months later in hspital from complications.

HSE Inspector Paul Yeadon commented: “Mr Mason will forever live with the guilt of his momentary disregard for safety. Forklifts are extremely common and invaluable pieces of machinery. However, they also pose a serious risk if they are used for anything other than their intended purpose, or if operators fail to follow the required safe-working procedures. We hope that this tragic incident will serve as a lesson to all employers and employees who work with or near forklifts.”

Comment: This prosecution follows recent manslaughter proceedings initiated by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) following a death involving a fork lift truck on a construction site.

In both cases a trained operator has been prosecuted after unsafe use of a forklift lift contributed to the death of a co-worker.

It is not clear from the facts available why one individual was charge with manslaughter whilst the other faced proceedings under the HSW Act Section 7.

However, both cases must make all properly trained plant operators alert to the fact that both the CPS and HSE are likely to procecute where operator unsafe actions lead to death or serious injury.

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