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Management needs to be aware of risks

08 July 2014

The Fork Lift Truck Association has emphasised that managers need to be aware of forklift-related dangers, in the wake of the prosecution of a company and one of its directors after a forklift accident.

A worker was seriously injured in a four metre fall from an unsecured metal platform balanced on the raised forks of a fork lift truck. The fall occurred as he was undertaking cable installation work on behalf of an electrical contractor at Summit Chairs. The company was prosecuted alongside sales director Roy Gurney after an investigation by the HSE found access for the work at height was inherently unsafe.

The court heard that although a scissor lift had been used on site for such work previously, it was not available on the site the day of the incident, and the equipment the workers were expected to use instead was entirely inappropriate.

HSE established that Roy Gurney suggested raising a metal stillage or cage on the forks of a fork lift truck to provide a work platform. He was aware that the stillage was simply resting on, but not secured to, the forks of the truck, with nothing to prevent it from sliding along the forks or tilting to either side.

Summit Chairs was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Roy Gurney was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,315 in costs for the same offence.

FLTA CEO Peter Harvey says: "Incidents such as this underline the importance of management being aware of the key issues affecting fork lift truck operations, on them being competent to recognise hazards, and confident to communicate them.

"The high risks associated with this type of operation are well documented. As such, there are detailed and specific rules governing the design and use of working platforms on fork lift trucks and any person involved with their application should be familiar with these rules.

"The FLTA's online resources include Fact Sheets covering this specific subject and a host of similar ones to help truck users operate more safely and within the law. To find them and other helpful guidance, visit www.fork-truck.org.uk.”