Recycling company fined £666,000 after worker suffers head injuries from forklift truck

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A recycling company has been fined £666,000 after a worker suffered life-threatening head injuries when the boom from a forklift truck hit his head.

In September 2015, the 34-year old employee of Countrystyle Recycling Ltd instructed a colleague to use a telehandler – a forklift truck with a boom – to move paper at the company’s site.

The machine was left running while the employee left the cab unattended. Another employee entered the cab and the boom of was elevated and lowered.

It struck the head of the 34-year-old as he was standing below, causing serious brain injuries. The man has not returned to work.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the company failed to suitably plan the management and overseeing of workplace transport activities on site.

The investigation also found employees of Countrystyle Ltd had not received the appropriate level of training in order to safely operate the telehandlers on site.

Countrystyle Recycling Ltd of Ashford Road, Kent pleaded guilty at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The company also pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. It was fined £666,700 with costs of £8,424.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Bose Gabriel said: “This incident could have been prevented had Countrystyle planned this workplace activity beforehand and identified the risks associated.

“Duty holders must ensure they devise and carry out safe systems of work at all times. Workplace transport incidents are very serious and usually result in life threatening injuries, as highlighted in this case.”

EP Risk Consultancy runs a number of training courses for forklift truck operators. Please contact us to see how we can help your organisation prevent accidents associated with these vehicles.