Howdens Joinery hit with £1.2m fine after agency driver is crushed by a forklift truck

Ashleigh Wight
November 24, 2017


Own-account operator Howdens Joinery is to pay more than £1.2m in fines and costs after an agency driver was crushed to death when a forklift truck overturned.

Whilst delivering into the kitchen manufacturer's site in Workington, Cumbria in November 2014, HGV driver Richard Bowen was struck by a forklift truck that was unloading kitchen worktops from a trailer. 

The HSE, which prosecuted the company, found that that the forklift truck had been overloaded. Furthermore, HGV drivers were not kept at a safe distance away from loading and unloading operations at the site.

Howdens Joinery, which holds two O-licences authorising up to 165 vehicles and 688 trailers, was fined £1.2m at Carlisle Crown Court on 22 November after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It will also have to pay £33,902 in costs.

HSE inspector Steven Boyd said: “Standing too close to where loading or unloading work is being carried out can put people in harm’s way so people, such as delivery drivers, should be in a position of safety when forklift trucks are operating.

“This tragic incident could have been avoided if Howdens Joinery had implemented a safe procedure to ensure that pedestrians were kept at a safe distance during loading and unloading work."

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