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Builders Merchant fined £60,000 after forklift truck injures employee

Following both an accident investigation and subsequent prosecution by officers from the Public Protection Partnership (PPP), Jubilee Building Supplies Limited was sentenced at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court on 15 July 2019 after pleading guilty to three offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 following an accident at its warehouse on John Nike Way, Bracknell.

The accident happened on the 8 July 2016 at approximately 7 am when a member of staff, while manoeuvring a forklift truck in the warehouse area, accidentally drove over the ankle of another employee who was standing alongside another forklift truck adjusting a load. The injured employee sustained ligament damage to his ankle and the heel of his foot and was taken to Frimley Park Hospital for treatment.

District Judge Lachhar sitting at the Magistrates’ Court fined the company £60,000 and ordered it to pay a victim’s surcharge of £170 plus the PPP’s investigation and prosecution costs of £10,572. The company pleaded to the main offence under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 plus two additional charges that reflected various failures including failing to provide suitable traffic routes for people and vehicles (Regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992) and failing to make sure that all persons who use work equipment received adequate training particularly for when using forklift trucks (Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998).

Commenting on the case Cllr John Harrison, Executive Member for Bracknell Forest, said:

“During the investigation it was revealed the driver was only provided with forklift training by a recognised training provider 17 days after the accident. Also the paint marking pedestrian routes in the warehouse had grown faint. On reviewing the company’s history in the PPP’s records the business had been warned previously about the training process for forklift truck drivers and deficiencies in the demarcation of pedestrian routes.”

He continued:

“If you are concerned about the way a business is operating and feel there might be a risk of an accident occurring please get in touch with us on 01635 519192 or at ehadvice@westberks.gov.uk. We will deal with your report confidentially.”

Any business operating in Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire or Wokingham Borough local authority areas is obliged by law to report accidents, occupational diseases and near-misses to the Health and Safety Executive(HSE). More information can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.