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Stonehaven Firm Fined After Fatal Crush Injury

A Stonehaven animal feed company has been fined after a lorry driver was crushed to death when a two-tonne, fully-loaded grain bin fell onto him from a forklift truck.

David Leslie, who was 49, was helping with a grain loading operation when the incident happened. The grain bin had been picked up by a forklift driver, who raised the forks to about five and a half feet to allow better visibility as he moved forwards. However, the bin fell off the forks and struck Mr Leslie, who was standing in front of the forklift. He died after suffering crush injuries to his head, neck and chest.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found a number of safety failures on the part of the company:

  • There was no safe system of work for the task in place, and operators were left to carry it out in any way they saw fit.
  • Although the company’s site rules required visiting drivers to keep away from the loading operation until advised by the forklift driver, this was not communicated to employees or drivers.
  • Despite previous incidents of grain bins slipping from the forks of the trucks, no mechanism or device to secure them had been installed.

The company appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, where it was fined £240,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

“The issues with unsecured loads on forklift trucks and the dangers of inadequate segregation of vehicles and people are well-known in all relevant industries,” commented HSE Principal Inspector Niall Miller. “Around a quarter of all workplace transport incidents involve forklift  trucks, with 50% of these happening because someone is hit either by the vehicle or a falling load.”

“It was entirely foreseeable that there was a risk of death or serious injury if the grain bin fell from the forklift truck, particularly as the company was aware of previous incidents of loads falling,” he added.

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