Adhesives co pays £173k for forklift fatality

A global adhesives manufacturer has been fined more than £173,000 after a worker was killed when a reversing lorry pinned him against a forklift truck.

Andrew Davies died in the transport yard at Mapei UK in Halesowen in July 2010 while emptying a machine using a forklift to move a skip and then tip its contents into a bag held in a cage.

Wolverhampton Crown Court was told yesterday (5 December) that a lorry driver had been asked to move his vehicle by another driver so he could drive into the loading area. At about the same time, Davies had left the forklift cab and moved around to the front of his truck.

As the lorry driver reversed the 18-tonne rigid-back lorry, he trapped Davies between the back of the lorry and the cage resting on the truck forks. His head was impaled against the forks, killing him instantly.

The HSE’s investigation showed that Mapei UK had not segregated pedestrians and vehicles properly in the yard.

There were no defined traffic routes or walkways, no ground markings, and the yard was open with no physical restrictions on movement.

Though there was a system to restrict vehicles moving, which required drivers to hand in their vehicle keys on arrival, this didn’t apply to all vehicles.

The lorry driver involved in the incident had not handed his keys in, which meant he did not have to seek Mapei UK’s permission or help to move his vehicle.

The company considered the transport area a low risk priority, despite previous independent safety reports to the contrary.

Mapei, one of the world’s largest suppliers of adhesives to the construction industry, was fined £173,332 after it pleaded guilty to breaching  the Health and Safety at Work Act. Costs will be agreed at a later date.

“There were long term, systemic failings by the company to adequately assess the risks and take sufficient control measures to ensure the transport yard was operated without posing a risk to the safety of those working there,” said HSE inspector Mahesh Mahey.

Mapei now limits movements in the yard to one vehicle at a time and has introduced a traffic marshal to supervise vehicle manoeuvres. The operation Davies was carrying out is now done away from other vehicles.