Company fined after forklift fatality

Jo Francis
Friday, June 4, 2021

A paper recycling company has been handed a six-figure fine after a worker was killed in an incident involving a forklift truck.

HSE said forklift trucks should only operated by those who are trained and competent to do so
HSE said forklift trucks should only operated by those who are trained and competent to do so

The incident happened in October 2018 at Restore Datashred’s facility in Crayford, in south east London.

Jamie Wright, a 20-year-old agency worker, was driving a forklift truck when it overturned.

In a case heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the court heard that Wright “was not wearing a seatbelt and became trapped between the forklift’s rollover protective structure and the floor”.

He sustained fatal crush injuries as a result.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found “significant failings in the management of workplace transport risks at the site, including issues relating to operator competence and supervision and monitoring”.

Restore Datashred was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs £22,860, after the company pleaded guilty to a breaching of Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Whittle said: “This was a tragic and preventable work-related incident.

“Companies need to ensure that work equipment, such as forklift trucks, is only operated by those who are trained and competent to do so, and that temporary workers are not allowed to slip through the cracks with regard to appropriate training, supervision and management.”

HSE’s guidance on lift trucks points out that these types of truck are “particularly dangerous in the workplace”, and on average are involved in about a quarter of all workplace transport accidents.

Restore Datashred is part of £182.7m-turnover Restore PLC’s document management division, which includes document storage and records management, as well as hard copy document conversion into digital images and data streams.

The company had not commented at the time of writing.

The Datashred business offers secure shredding services and operates from 11 sites across the UK. It has a fleet of more than 200 collection and mobile shredding vehicles, serving clients from SMEs to large public sector organisations. The firm specialises in paper, media and textile destruction and shreds around 100,000 tonnes of material a year.

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