Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over the death of a welder who became trapped while using a forklift truck to transport heavy welding equipment on 18 August 2010. He died in hospital from his injuries four days later. An investigation found he had been able to drive the forklift despite not having any forklift driver training.
The court was told that keys were routinely left in the ignition of forklifts, and that Mr Dunroe had driven a truck on several occasions without being challenged about his lack of training. No procedures were in place to inform employees who was and who was not authorised to drive the trucks.
Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Ltd admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of its employees. The company, which has around 500 employees, was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £12,294 in prosecution costs on 22 March 2012.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Richard Clarke said:
“A company the size of Cammell Laird should have known better than to have allowed keys to be routinely left in forklift trucks, making driving a truck the easy option for employees wanting to transport heavy equipment. Mr Dunroe may well have thought he was doing his employer a favour by moving the welding equipment as quickly as possible, but instead he has ended up losing his life”.
Cammell Laird has since introduced new procedures to ensure keys are safely locked away, and that a list is available of trained drivers. Had these procedures had been in place Mr Dunroe’s death may well have been prevented.
On average, there are eight deaths and 1,500 injuries reported every year as a result of incidents involving forklift trucks. Information on the safe use of forklifts is available at www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport.