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7th September 2022

Unsafe Work from Fork Lift Results in Company Fine

Forklift truck

What’s Happened?

A carpentry and joinery company has recently been fined after one of their employees who was working unsecured on the forks of a forklift truck fell 3.5 metres to the ground.

The employee was working for Staircraft Group Limited at their head office site in Coventry undertaking window cleaning duties, he was working from an unsecured stillage on the forks of a forklift truck in order to clean the office windows which were too high to reach. The stillage tipped over and the employee subsequently fell 3.5 metres to the ground.  As a result of the incident, he sustained a broken leg and an injury to his elbow.

HSE Investigation

As is the usual customary practice for incidents of this nature within the workplace, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ensured.

HSE found the company failed to identify that using a stillage to lift someone on the forks of a forklift truck, a method that they had used before, was clearly unsafe.  There was a lack of training for employees on the dangers of working at height without the proper equipment and there were no systems of work or risk assessments in place.

In Court

The company appeared at Redditch Magistrates’ Court Staircraft Group Limited, of Bayton Road Industrial Estate, Exhall, Coventry pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1974 and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,477.93.

Speaking after the hearing, the HSE inspector involved in the case said: “The employee’s injuries were very serious, and he could have easily been killed.

“This serious incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

If you have any queries regarding work at height or any other H&S issues, then don’t hesitate to contact out client advice line on 0300 303 5228.

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