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Company Found Guilty of Health and Safety Violations

A company has been fined by the Wolverhampton Crown Court after being found guilty of health and safety violations which resulted in one of its employees losing his life in a forklift accident.

In July 2010, Andrew Davies (forty-three-years-old at the time of the accident) of Oldbury, West Midlands, was working at the Mapei UK Limited warehouse in Halesowen as a forklift truck driver. Andrew was emptying waste from a skip into a caged bag when he got down from the cab of the forklift truck.

As he was exiting the forklift, an 18-ton lorry began reversing out of the way of another vehicle in the warehouse, and it reversed directly into Andrew-forcing him back and impaling Andrew on the prongs of his forklift truck. Andrew died of his injuries.

An investigation was launched into Andrew’s death, and it was found that the lorry had neither a near camera nor reversing alarm. It was also revealed that there was no traffic marshal for the yard, and that a risk assessment had not been completed for Andrew’s task.

The Health and Safety Execustive (HSE) prosecuted Andrew’s employer for failing to separate vehicles and pedestrians in the warehouse, and thereby failing to ensure the safety of its employees. At the Wolverhampton Crown Court, the company pleaded guilty to a breach in health and safety laws which resulted in a fatal forklift truck accident. They were fined £173,000 for their negligence, and ordered to pay costs.

Speaking after the prosecution hearing, HSE inspector Mahesh Mahey said that Andrew had needlessly lost his life. He said “There were long-term, systematic failings by the company to adequately assess the risks and take sufficient control measures to ensure the safety of the transport yard”.