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Manchester Court rules non-compliance with health and safety regulations to blame for overturned FLT after HSE executive referral

Transport Training Academy is justifiably proud of its successful record in logistics training. Our mission is to not only support, embed and promote equality, diversity, and safeguarding; but also to promote health and safety compliance in every part of our training. Strict health and safety compliance is vitally important for the industry as a whole, but particularly important when it comes to working at height. That’s why we stress the need for full compliance in all our fork lift truck training, whether that’s counter-balance, reach, rough terrain, telescopic, side-loader or pivet-steer training.

Our FLT training courses teach students not only how to operate the vehicle in a safe and efficient manner, but also how to comply fully with all the exacting health and safety requirements so that they, their colleagues and the general public remain safe. Unfortunately, these exacting health and safety compliance standards are not always universally applied right across the industry as a recent legal case in Manchester, reported in the HSE weekly digest eBulletin, clearly demonstrates.

In December, 2016, a construction company was fined by Manchester Magistrates following a breach of health and safety law. The court heard that a 58-year-old worker suffered serious injuries when the fork lift truck and attached man-riding cage from which he was working overturned and fell to the floor.

The company had been employed to carry out refurbishment work on a new unit that they had leased: work which included the installation of new IT cabling at a height of 7 metres between the new unit and the existing building. The court heard that whilst the new cabling was being attached in an area where the road was sloping the unsecured fork lift truck and man-riding cage overturned. Although the employee was able to grab hold of the existing cabling as the vehicle overturned, he was unable to prevent falling to the ground. As a result of the fall the worker sustained serious injuries to his pelvis, vertebrae and right hand.

An HSE investigation found that although the company had produced a risk assessment and method statement, and, on the basis of those, concluded that it would be fully compliant with HSE regulations if it allowed the work to be carried out using a fork lift truck and attached man-riding cage: it [HSE] concluded that the incident could have been prevented by provision of more suitable equipment to avoid overturning when working on the sloping road surface:

HSE inspector David Norton told the hearing:

“Falls from height are still the most common cause of serious accidents in the workplace in the UK and many could have been prevented if the correct equipment had been selected and used. This is the situation in this case: a cherry picker type Mobile Elevating Working Platform (MEWP) could have avoided the sloped road surface where the incident occurred.’’

The company was found guilty of breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Working at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £10,000 with £1,194.35 costs.

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