Operator was not wearing a seatbelt

Forklift fatality results in £500k fine

HSE: "This was a disturbing incident"
HSE describes lift trucks as “particularly dangerous in the workplace”

A specialist supplier of barcoding technology has been fined £500,000 after a fatal forklift incident.

Newark-headquartered The Barcode Warehouse supplies systems used in a variety of industries, including warehousing, manufacturing and retail.

The incident occurred at the family-owned firm’s depot on 4 June 2019.

Employee Jamie Anderson was killed when the forklift truck he was operating overturned.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) report stated: “The 35-year-old father of one, was found in the car park trapped under the roll cage of the vehicle.

“He had been using a counterbalance forklift truck to move waste material when it clipped a kerbstone at the edge of the roadway and overturned. He was not wearing a seatbelt.

The HSE investigation found that The Barcode Warehouse had failed to enforce the use of seatbelts by forklift truck operators. The business should have properly risk assessed the use of forklift trucks on its premises and enforced the use of seatbelts.

Instead, it was left to individuals to choose whether to wear a seatbelt or not.

In a case heard at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court last week, The Barcode Warehouse pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

The firm was fined £500,000 and agreed to pay costs of just over £7,000.

The owners of the business issued a statement expressing their regret, and said: “The Barcode Warehouse Limited's aim is for everybody to go home safe and well at the end of each day. We deeply regret the incident which occurred at our Telford Drive site in 2019 in which Jamie Anderson sadly suffered fatal injuries.

“We would again like to apologise to Jamie's family and friends who have been affected by this tragedy. We continue to strive to achieve the very best standards of health and safety and we are thankful to the Coroner who recognised that if we had been aware of the risk then we would have addressed it.

“This awful tragedy highlighted to us the importance of drivers wearing seatbelts at all times when using forklift trucks.”

Anderson’s mother, Sarah Anderson, said: “No mother should lose a child and for Jamie’s son Harley he has lost a loving father.

“As a family we have gone through all emotions, and I still feel angry as Jamie simply went to work and didn’t come home. This should not have happened.

“He was a happy-go-lucky boy and would do anything for anyone. It’s the everyday things that remind me of him and I miss his smile and blue eyes. He’s missed so much.”

HSE describes lift trucks as “particularly dangerous in the workplace”, and its statistics show that the devices are involved in about a quarter of all workplace transport accidents.

Its guidance on the safe operation of lift trucks can be downloaded here.