How Common Is A Forklift Accident?


The Law Of… Following Health And Safety Legislation

A young worker has tragically died after the negligence of his employer led to a forklift accident.

Accident at Work Compensation specialist, Georgia Robinson, investigates the most recent tragedy involving a 19 year old and provides some advice if you have been hurt in a forklift accident.

Fork lift truck

How Often Is There A Forklift Accident?

In February 2015, 19 year old Ben Pallier-Singleton was tragically killed when the forklift truck he was driving toppled over a sloping roadway. He was crushed underneath the weight of the truck and died from head and neck injuries.

Sadly, accidents such as these are not rare. Every year, between 5 and 10 Britons are killed because of a forklift accident. Hundreds more are hospitalised with serious injuries including amputations and crushing. More than a thousand suffer injuries that require at least three days of recovery.

How Does A Forklift Accident Happen?

According to the Fork Lift Truck Association, 1 in 12 workers regularly work on or near forklift trucks. Of this number, fewer than half have received the minimum requirement of training needed to work in close proximity to heavy machinery such as this.

It was found in the case of Ben Pallier-Singleton that he had not been adequately trained and was also not wearing a seatbelt at the time of his accident. The company he worked for pleaded guilty to breaching a section of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and a regulation of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999).

Georgia explains:

"In this instance, the employer has failed to adequately train this young man as well as not having the relevant procedures and practices in place to avoid this accident happening, leaving the work place unsafe. Had they done so, this accident may not have happened."

The tragedy outlined above is not the only case where the negligence of an employer has led to the fatality or serious injury of a worker. According to the Advanced Fork Truck Training, 70% of all accidents could be prevented by standard safety measures.

In July 2013, another incident involving a forklift accident saw an employer fined £100,000 for negligence. An employee, Virginius Kurselis, was tasked with painting a wall. He was initially using a ladder to do the job but decided to stand in a box that was then lifted by a forklift to the required height. The box tipped from the forklift and Kurselis fell. Evidence proved that Kurselis had received no training as to how to carry out the work safely.

What Can Be Done To Prevent A Forklift Accident?

The Health and Safety Act was put in place that stated, "All workers have (the) right to work in places where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled…Your employer is responsible for health and safety, but you must help."

As a result of this, employers were bound by the legislation to put everything in place in order to protect employees from all possible dangers.

Employers must:

  • Make decisions on what could harm employees and take precautions to prevent harm
  • Explain to the employee how risks will be controlled
  • Consult with employees and health and safety representatives in protecting everyone in the workplace from harm
  • Provide free health and safety training needed to do the job an employee has been hired to do
  • Provide free equipment and protective clothing needed for the job an employee has been hired to do
  • Provide adequate first-aid facilities
  • Have insurance that covers employees in case they get hurt at work or ill through work

Employees must:

  • Follow training given
  • Take reasonable care of their own and other people's health and safety
  • Co-operate with the employer on health and safety
  • Tell someone if they think the work or inadequate precautions are putting anyone's health and safety at risk

September is Safetember, National Forklift Safety Month, and this year, Mentor FLT Training are campaigning for the awareness of communication between forklift truck drivers and pedestrians. They are asking drivers to, 'Show Your Hand' if someone gets too close to the truck. They are hopeful that, "impact will be long-lasting. It is a clear, universal and an easy-to-enforce message – making it an ideal tool for any site to adopt."

The Health and Safety Executive provide anywhere using forklift trucks specific guidelines and any business also has access to site safety regulations. This is in a bid to reduce the amount of injuries in the workplace due to heavy machinery.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Hurt In A Forklift Accident?

As with all Personal Injury Claims, if you have been injured because of another's negligence, you will need to begin a claim within 3 years of the incident occurring.

If your accident has been within three years, our specialist Work Injury Solicitors can provide you with professional and expert help with your case.

Georgia comments:

"Forklift accidents happen all the time. But it is upsetting to know that tragedies like the one involving Ben Pallier-Singleton could be prevented if employers were to stick to health and safety legislation."

"Employers need to take the risks involved in working with forklifts seriously and I think Local Authorities need to re-address how employers are moderated to ensure the number of accidents drop."

"If you are involved in an accident at work it is so important to document it. Fill in accident forms and take pictures if you can. This makes for a better case when claiming for personal injury."

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