23 Nov 2017
Howdens – The UK`s largest manufacturer and supplier of fitted kitchens has been fined £1.2 million following the fatal crushing of a delivery driver in Cumbria. A forklift truck was being used to unload two pallets from the heavy goods vehicle when it overbalanced and fell on Richard Brown who unfortunately died at the scene.
Howdens Joinery was prosecuted at Carlisle Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaching ss 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It must also pay costs of almost £34,000. The court was told that Richard Brown had been delivering kitchen worktops to the company’s premises at Clay Flatts industrial estate in Workington when the accident happened in November 2014.
Howdens was fined because The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the forklift had been overloaded. The load weight exceeded the forklift’s maximum operational capacity. Howdens were also accused of failing to keep delivery drivers a safe distance away from loading and unloading operations.
This tragic case highlights the importance of carrying out suitable and sufficient risk assessments to identify and then mitigate the risks to the health & safety of employees and third parties such as delivery drivers. When receiving deliveries of goods, once the driver has safely parked and made the vehicle ready for unloading, he/she should remain at a safe distance away from the vehicle and any fork lift trucks.