Crush injuries result in five-figure fine

sign forklift safety

A Southampton storage and warehousing company has been fined £32,000 after an employee was run over by one of its forklift trucks. Skillbeech Services, which holds a standard national licence authorising seven HGVs and two trailers, appeared at Southampton Magistrates’ Court following the incident in July 2019.

The court heard that the delivery driver was in the firm’s Drivers’ Wharf yard while his vehicle was being loaded, when he was hit by the forklift. He was knocked to the ground and the vehicle then ran over his legs, causing severe crush injuries.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there were inadequate control measures in place to segregate pedestrians and vehicles at the delivery yard. The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and as well as the fine, it was also ordered to pay costs of £8,222.

Nicola Pinckney, HSE inspector, said: “The injuries sustained in this incident were life changing and could have easily been fatal. This incident could have been avoided if basic vehicle and pedestrian segregation and control measures such as barriers, marked walkways and safe working practices had been in place. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standard.”

Suspicions aroused over scaffolder’s licence application

ANPR camera motorway

Two connected Scottish firms have had their applications for restricted licences refused after the traffic commissioner found there was evidence of unlawful operation.

Scaff Solutions had applied for a licence for two vehicles, but before a decision was made two of its lorries were stopped and found to be already undertaking work. Less than three weeks after a DVSA interview with its director, Paul Tait, an application for three vehicles was then received from a company called Scaff Solutions West. Its director was named as Lee McIver – Scaff Solutions’ office manager.

At a conjoined public inquiry, Tait declined to answer any questions about unlawful operating on legal advice, but national ANPR camera evidence showed that his firm used HGVs on public roads 49 times without an O-licence.

McIver told deputy TC Hugh Olson he had deliberately chosen the name Scaff Solutions West so that work could be channelled from Scaff Solutions, but he denied setting up the business to enable Tait to keep his going. The DTC said Scaff Solutions had been breaking the law and that it was unfit to hold a licence.

In his written decision, he also said he didn’t find McIver’s evidence convincing and that the timing of Scaff Solutions West’s incorporation and licence application were suspicious: “The applicant has not satisfied me that its application is not a device to get round the problems that Scaff Solutions faced in obtaining its own restricted licence,” he said.