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    SCAFFOLD CONTRACTOR FINED OVER FATALITY

    Deceased fork lift driver received 20 minutes training

    B D Pinkney & Co (Basil ‘Bill’ Pinkney T/A) has been fined for safety failings which led to the death of a workman who was thrown from a forklift truck and crushed.

    David Westwater, aged 22, had been working at the scaffold refurbishment business for two weeks before the incident on 28 August 2012.

    Airdrie Sheriff Court heard (23 October) that Mr Westwater was driving an unladen forklift truck down a sloping access way when he made a sharp left hand turn causing the vehicle to overturn.

    He  was not wearing a seat-belt and was thrown to the ground. Where the vehicle protective cage fell onto his head trapping him beneath it. He suffered multiple head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

    HSE investigators found the absence of a system to ensure that suitably trained employees drove forklift trucks. Mr Westwater had been given some 20 minutes in-house which fell far short of the standard required.

    The court was told that the defendant had been previously warned of the need to train drivers.

    Should not have been allowed to operate forklift

    Basil ‘Bill’ Pinkney, 69, t/a B D Pinkney & Co, Unit 4, Northburn Road, Coatbridge, was fined £24,500 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

    Following the case, HSE Acting Head of Operations Barry Baker, said:

    “The tragic death of Mr Westwater could easily have been prevented. Basil Pinkney had previously been told to ensure that only employees who had been properly trained should drive his forklift trucks. On the date of the incident there were three trained forklift drivers on site so there was no need for Mr Westwater to even be on a forklift.

    Every year there are serious and sometimes fatal incidents involving forklift trucks. It was entirely foreseeable that there was a risk of death or serious injury in allowing an inexperienced and untrained driver to operate a forklift truck.

    Mr Westwater should not have been allowed to operate any of the forklift trucks on site until he had been properly trained to do so.”

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