Injury to teenage worker leads to fine
A Nottinghamshire pet food company has been fined £18,000 after an 18-year-old worker was seriously injured when a forklift truck he was driving overturned.
As a result of the incident the worker, who had only been employed by the company for two weeks, sustained serious lower limb injuries including compound fractures in both legs, vascular and nerve damage and a crushed left heel.
An investigation by The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the worker was operating a forklift truck but it began to overturn, and as he jumped clear, the truck fell onto him.
The investigation identified that:
- although he had been allowed to operate the forklift truck under supervision, the worker had received no formal training in its safe use
- the worker was able to operate the vehicle as a set of keys had been left in it
- the company’s system to control keys to access lift trucks was not effective, since operators regularly left keys in the lift truck, and operated them using those keys
- had the keys only been available to trained, authorised operators, then the injured worker would not have been able to operate the lift truck
- it was common practice for seatbelts not to be worn.
The company admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £1,332.
This incident, which could have easily been avoided, highlights the need for correct procedures and systems to be in place where workers operate forklift trucks.