While they were waiting for their construction site to be unlocked, three Northampton ceramic tilers were sitting in a car when a nearby forklift truck toppled over its extendable arm during a routine equipment check.
As the forklift truck fell, the end of the extendable arm landed square atop the roof of the car which resulted in not only crushing it completely but causing severe personal injury at work to the three occupants of the vehicle. One of them would not survive his injuries.
There were several factors that contributed to the accident, the Oxford Crown Court were told, all involving the forklift. Due to the vehicle having the incorrect tyre pressure, being operated on ground that was not even, and unnecessary tests being carried out on the vehicle by its driver (including extending the forklift’s telescopic arm fully), these combined factors had the unfortunate result in tipping the forklift over on to the three men.
After being found in breach of Health and Safety regulations, principal site contractors Linden Limited, a house building company, was slapped with a fine of £7,500 in addition to a £25,000 bill for costs.
The driver of the forklift, Banbury, Oxfordshire native Keith Payne, faced fines of £7,000 for his role in the accident. Mr Payne was a self-employed plant operator at the time of the accident.
One Healthy and Safety Executive inspector declared that the tragic accident was one that could have totally been avoided, stating that with suitable maintenance and competent operation, tragedies such as what befell the three ceramic tilers could never happen.