A Brentford business has been ordered to pay a total of £18,000 in fines and costs after a visitor was badly injured at their premises.
Feltham Magistrates Court heard that in December 2012 a visiting driver arrived with his van at Heidelberg Graphic Equipment Limited, in Brentford High Street, to collect some equipment. This load was secured using strapping by Heidelberg. A Heidelberg employee loaded the equipment onto the visiting driver's van using a fork lift truck.
While loading the equipment the strapping became caught on the van doors. The fork lift operator lowered the load into the van and moved the truck back slightly. The visiting driver tried to unhook the strapping but the fork lift moved forward, driving over the visitor’s left foot and crushing him against the load. His shoulder was broken and his foot severely bruised.
Following an investigation by Hounslow Council’s health and safety team, at court Heidelberg pleaded guilty to a charge under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) for failing in their duty to protect non employees. They acknowledged they did not identify the extent of the risk posed to third party drivers during loading operations. They also accepted that, contrary to health and safety guidance, their assessments did not specifically identify risks. They were fined £11,000, and ordered to pay £7,000 in costs.
Councillor Richard Foote, cabinet member for community protection, said: “The risks posed during loading and unloading operations by fork lift trucks are well understood throughout the industry, yet Heidelberg failed to put adequate measures in place to protect visiting drivers.
“This accident could have been avoided by ensuring that visitors stand well away from the loading area during fork lift truck operations. While the injuries sustained by the visitor were serious, this accident could have been fatal.”