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£140k fine after forklift driver dies in lorry incident

  • 27 May 2014
  • By Roger Brown

AAK UK has been fined £140,000 after a forklift truck driver was killed at its factory in an incident involving a lorry.

In a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, Liverpool Crown Court was told how Michael Moran was using his forklift to load a lorry trailer outside the firm’s premises on the Astmoor Industrial Estate, Runcorn, in April 2011.

The 49-year-old from Warrington had been loading pallets containing tubs of mayonnaise onto the trailer. He had finished loading one side and had moved into the road to reach the other side of the trailer.

As he moved the forklift truck into position, a lorry that had been parked up alongside the trailer slowly started to reverse. Moran shouted out and the HGV driver applied his brakes. However, it was too late and the lorry hit the side of the forklift, which overturned, killing Moran instantly.

An HSE investigation found that forklift truck drivers had regularly driven onto a public road to load HGVs, without the company putting any safety measures in place.

The court was told that vehicles regularly visited the site with deliveries or to pick up loads of mayonnaise to distribute, with most reversing down Davy Road to avoid having to turn around in the cul-de-sac.

AAK UK had not carried out an adequate assessment of the risks to its employees or visiting drivers using the ‘goods out’ area.

Drivers were also not given any information, instruction or training on how to load the lorry trailers safely, and there was poor supervision.

The company was ordered to pay £22,657 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Section 2(1) of the Act states that it is the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Deborah Walker said: “Our investigation revealed a chaotic and dangerous system, and sadly it was entirely foreseeable that someone was at risk of being badly injured or killed.

“Neither Mr Moran or the lorry driver had any way of knowing they were both about to start operating their vehicles, and sadly Mr Moran did not have time to get out of the way when the HGV began to reverse.

“Following the incident, the company created a no-parking zone along the ‘goods out’ area by Davy Road, which means there is now space for forklift truck drivers to load trailers without having to come out into the road.

“The firm also set up a booking-in system for vehicles delivering to the factory.”


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