A farming company was prosecuted following an accident to an employee who was hit by falling metal framework balanced on the forks of a forklift truck (FLT). The sections of frame were not secured to the forks and as the untrained FLT operator applied the brake they slid off and hit another employee on the back of his head. This serious accident could have been avoided by taking simple practical precautions. As well as an unsafe system being employed to move the load the FLT's lifting equipment had not been tested or maintained. A properly trained driver would have known how to carry the load safely having carried out a suitable risk assessment.
The farming company was prosecuted under section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and fined £6,500 and ordered to pay £2,479 towards the cost of bringing the prosecution.
All operators of FLT's and material handlers need to be trained as the driving characteristics of a loader differ greatly from other farm vehicles. This is particularly important for new entrants, young persons and inexperienced drivers. Vehicle routes and movements need to be planned to separate them from pedestrians. Ideally areas where vehicles (in particular delivery vehicles) are likely to be manoeuvring should be made pedestrian free.