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Written by
on 23 March 2011


An eighteen year old man was seriously injured in an accident which left him trapped under a forklift truck. The Health and Safety Executive found the Nuneaton recycling company guilty of breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and also regulation 22 of the workplace Health and Safety Welfare regulations 1992.

During the accident the teenager who has asked not to be named was operating the forklift.  He was unloading a vehicle when the forklift overturned.  He ended up being caught beneath it and sustained a broken leg, a dislocated ankle and his elbow was dislocated, crushed and broken.  After the accident the worker was treated in hospital for a month.  He also had several operations and has been left without the full use of his left arm.

Failings by the Firm Discovered Employee had not Received any Forklift Truck Training in Investigation

Intelligence Recycling Ltd was investigated by the HSE and there were many failings which were found on site.  The injured man had been working for the company for just three weeks and it was discovered that he had been given no formal training for operating a forklift truck.  The Health and Safety inspectors also discovered that other employees who often used the forklift also had not been formally trained.

Another issue which was brought to light was the lack of drinking water which was available.  The only way workers could obtain fresh water was by using a hose pipe.  This was located behind one of the portable buildings, and the pipe was left on the ground.

Injured Employ in His First Job since Leaving Education

The inspector present at the Nuneaton Magistrates Court said that the incident was completely preventable. Michelle Morrison spoke about the misfortune surrounding the injured party who had started working for the first time since he left full time education.

Morrison went on to talk about the dangers of forklifts stating that over one quarter of accidents involving workplace traffic was caused by forklift trucks.  This is because many companies do not give the correct training and are not fully supervised while operating the vehicles.  Intelligence Recycling failed to train their staff and it is the full duty of companies who use this machinery to make sure all of the employees who will be using the forklifts are trained to a minimum standard.

Guilty Firm Not in Attendance

The judge fined Intelligence Recycling a total of £4000 for their health and safety failings, and £2832 in costs.  The firm is no longer trading as they went into liquidation in January 2011. Therefore no one representing the firm was in attendance to hear the outcome of the trial.

Morrison also bought up the water drinking conditions at the company.   This is a basic requirement and the health and safety inspector saw it as completely unacceptable to disregard the welfare of employees in this way.

If you would like to carry out a risk assessment, staff training and any other health and safety issues within your company please contact our qualified consultants.  We are happy to assist you to ensure you are complying with all workplace health and safety laws and regulation.  Call us on 0800 1488 677 to enquire about all our health and safety services.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

  • I think this highlights the importance of ensuring that operators are fully qualified to drive the forklift they are required to operate. Like any heavy machiney they can be very dangerous in unqualified hands which is evidenced here. I think it is also worth noting that not all forklifts are the same and operators must take conversion training to be able to operate more than one type of machine eg. someone qualified to drive a rough terrain forklift truck would be require conversion training to obtain a licence to drive a telescopic handler for example.

  • Phil Trucker says:

    very much agree there charlotte think you have made some very good points