Wine Business Handed Financial Sanction For Forklift Health and Safety Breaches

| General


On 26th January 2023 news emerged of a financial sanction handed down by the Magistrates Court sitting in the city of Manchester in the amount of approximately one million pounds to a business specializing in beverages and wine connected to violations of health and safety requirements. The decision to impose such a punishment was made because of the beverage producer’s failure to comply with the its legal and regulatory obligations during an incident whereby a large lorry was involved in an accident that occurred in Salford involving a forklift vehicle. In the collision the lorry driver sustained significant injuries. The damage, inflicted by the lorry driver was so severe that he sustained fatal injuries.  

What Happened In The Case?

The tragedy occurred at the warehouse of the beverage provider whereby the lorry driver was going about his daily work-related duties and awaiting goods being put into the working vehicle. This was seemingly part of his normal working routine. However, this was not just another working day as matters suddenly took a turn for the worse when the another colleague in charge of and driving a vehicle of the fork lift variety failed to keep a safe braking distance from the lorry and caused significant head injuries to his person. The decision was made to take the lorry driver to the hospital for medical assessment, investigation, and treatment. Sadly though all their efforts were in vain as the lorry driver was unresponsive, never woke up, and passed away in the medical establishment.    

What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?

On examining the evidence presented to it by the parties and the information it uncovered as part of its probe into the circumstances its findings did not make for happy reading for the beverage provider. It commented that provider had violated health and safety standards under both sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Section 2 impost ed duties on businesses with responsibilities for employing staff to protect the health, safety, and welfare of every employee. Section 3 places legal obligations on persons who are not employed by the business and may be impacted by its activity. The Health and Safety Executive was particularly damning of the drinks provider for not having an updated assessment as to the risk in place. On this specific point it found that such processes it had in position had:

  • expired
  • wholly unsuitable for the work-related activities being carried out on the site 
  • those in charge of implementing health and safety measures in the workplace had not considered separating those driving workplace vehicles from those working on foot in the working environment and
  • workplace vehicle drivers going to the site in their legal capacity as visitors were provided with insufficient visual signs regarding health and safety at the site. 

Feet to the Fire?

The business was eventually handed down just short of a one-million-pound by the regulator in light of the legal violations and was made to fork out approximately six thousand pounds in costs

Lessons Learned?

All organizations using lorries and forklift trucks need to be considering this case carefully and following the following strategy:

  • putting measures in place to safeguard the health and safety of colleagues in their capacity as visitors to a working environment
  • ensure pedestrian members of the workforce are separated from their driver colleagues and
  • regularly review risk assessments to assess whether they are up to the required current standards. 

By doing so, they will mitigate the risk of such incidents occurring in the future.   

ASSESSING FIRMS

#BlakeMorgan #LClyde&CoLLP #CapsticksLLP #Hempsons #KingsleyNapleyLLP #RadcliffesLeBrasseur #BatesWells #CMS #DACBeachcroftLLP #FieldFisher #HerbertSmithFreehills #Russell-CookeLLP #BlackfordsLLP #CharlesRussellSpeechlysLLP #KeoughLLP #MurdochsSolicitors #StepehensonsSolicItorsLLP

THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES 

[SOURCE 1] Health and Safety Executive – Wine company fined £800k after HGV driver killed at Salford Depot – 26th January 2023 - Wine company fined £800k after HGV driver killed at Salford depot | HSE Media Centre

[SOURCE 2] Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

[SOURCE 3] Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 

[SOURCE 4] Health and Safety Executive – Managing lift trucks - Managing Lift trucks - Vehicles at work (hse.gov.uk)

[SOURCE 5] Health and Safety Executive – Rider-operated lift trucks – Operating training and safe use. Approved Code of Practice and guidance – ISBN9789717664412 - Rider-operated lift trucks (hse.gov.uk)

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