Safety Alert: Essential to maintain handling equipment, operate safe systems of work and train operators
A mechanic died while repairing a forklift truck. The experienced employee was working with a new employee as they attempted to fix a steering fault on a forklift truck at the firm’s site. While doing this, the mechanic told the new employee, who was driving the forklift truck, to move the vehicle forwards. However, the forklift truck reversed and trapped the mechanic against a trailer. The casualty was taken to hospital with severe head injuries following the incident and placed in an induced coma.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the forklift truck was over 30-years-old and had not been maintained nor subjected to a Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations examination for some years. No principles of working with vehicles at the site had been put in place such as designating a safe repair area or separating pedestrians and vehicles. Had the duty holder properly maintained the forklift truck and provided the driver with appropriate training this incident could have been prevented. HSE guidance can be found at: Managing Lift trucks – Vehicles at work (hse.gov.uk)
HSE inspector Shellie Bee said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided. The employer had not maintained the forklift truck in a suitable working condition and had allowed an untrained employee to operate it. This together with an inappropriate system to fix a fault on the machine meant that the truck and the mechanic were in close proximity when it moved in a direction he had not anticipated. As a result the mechanic tragically lost his life. Employers should ensure they carry out an assessment of the risks created by forklifts and ensure safe systems of work for their safe operation and maintenance are followed.”
ICHCA International is committed to helping industry to learn lessons fast, learn them once and make sure that they stay learnt. This information is intended to provide all organisations in the cargo supply chain with the opportunity to consider the events and to review and adapt their own health and safety control measures to proactively prevent future incidents.
We are grateful to Health & Safety Executive (HSE) for providing details. We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others. If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate. Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls. Learning content like this is highly valuable as it is based on real-world experience. We encourage everyone with publishable information about incidents to send it to us, so that we can raise awareness across the whole industry. Please contact us at email@example.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.