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£1.2million fine after forklift overloaded with worktops topples and kills delivery driver

23 November 2017

Howden Joinery Ltd has been fined £1.2million with £33,902 costs following the death of a visiting HGV driver at one of its premises.

Carlisle Crown Court heard on 22 November how Richard Brown, an agency driver, was delivering kitchen worktops to a Howden Joinery Ltd site in Workington. He was crushed to death when a forklift truck overturned while lifting kitchen worktops from the trailer of the HGV.

An investigation into the incident, which took place on 10 November 2014, found the forklift had been overloaded and that visiting delivery drivers were not kept at a safe distance from the loading and unloading operations.

Howden Joinery Ltd of Portman Square, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Steven Boyd said: “Standing too close to where loading or unloading work is being carried out can put people in harm’s way, so people such as delivery drivers should be in a position of safety when forklift trucks are operating.

“This tragic incident could have been avoided if Howden Joinery Ltd had implemented a safe procedure to ensure that pedestrians were kept at a safe distance during loading and unloading work.

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


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