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Haulage firm fined after forklift operator died

A haulage firm from Oldham have been fined in excess of £85,000 after a forklift operator was killed whilst loading a heavy goods vehicle (HGV).

Ian Dawson, 60, from Rochdale, was loading pallets onto an HGV at Chorlton Express Transport Ltd on 19th November 2020.  Whilst he was doing this, the HGV drove forward, which then impacted the forklift truck, causing it to overturn. 

Mr Dawson was unfortunately not wearing his seat belt and was therefore trapped underneath the vehicle.  He sadly later died from his injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and found that Chorlton Express Transport Limited of Meek Street in Oldham, had failed to put sufficient safe systems of work in place regarding vehicle movements, or to ensure that all forklift truck operators were compelled to wear seat belts.

The court heard that, had Mr Dawson been wearing a seat belt, it is highly likely that this would have saved his life.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £86,710 and was ordered to pay £5,903 costs at a hearing at Manchester Magistrates Court on 17 April 2024.

After the hearing HSE inspector Jane Carroll said: “The failures of this company have left a family without the man they loved.  The importance of wearing seatbelts cannot be stressed enough. The failures meant the company exposed employees, and others, to the risk of being struck or caught by workplace vehicles.

“All work settings that use a forklift truck to load or unload goods, need to consider the risks arising from their use, and implement adequate measures to ensure the safety of those involved in these activities.”

Have your forklift operators been trained in the correct and safe way to operate their vehicles?  Would you be confident that your operators are all wearing seat belts today?

The easiest ways to avoid these tragic incidents is to ensure that your forklift operators are properly trained and your supervisors understand how to manage forklift operations safely.

We can help you with our high quality accredited training courses, ranging from Forklift driving courses to our online course “Managing & Supervising Materials Handling Equipment (MHE) Operations” – please click here to see our full range.

Contact us on 01793 975353 or for more information about how we can help or to book your course today.


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