A Blackpool clothing firm has been fined £40,000 after a man was seriously injured when he was hit by a forklift truck.
Self-employed delivery driver Andrew “John” Robinson suffered multiple leg fractures and a dislocated ankle as he collided with the vehicle while delivering goods at T. Print Limited’s Bristol Avenue site in Blackpool on 25 March 2022.
The 53-year-old, from Blackburn, had to be airlifted from the scene and spent a month in hospital because of his injuries. He has required multiple follow-up operations and, over a year later, has still not recovered sufficiently to be able to work.
Mr Robinson says the incident and recovery has ‘taken a toll on his mental health.’
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found T. Print Limited had failed to ensure that there were adequate measures in place to ensure the safe segregation of delivery drivers from the unloading and loading activities, as Mr Robinson was not instructed to stand or wait in a safe area during the unloading of his vehicle. The dangers should have been identified by a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks.
In a statement presented to court, Mr Robinson, 53, said: “During the incident I sustained serious injuries to both of my legs. I have had six surgeries in the last year, including bone and skin grafts.
“I am still not allowed to weight bear on one of my ankles and have no freedom currently due to my injuries; I cannot drive, and my mobility is limited. I live in a first-floor flat, but the stairs are not manageable without help. Before, I was a strong independent man, but the incident and slow recovery has taken a toll on my mental health.
“Sometimes I wish that I had lost my legs instead, as I have had enough of the pain.”
T. Print Limited, of Bristol Avenue, Bispham, Blackpool, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £4,696.95 in costs at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on 20 July 2023.
HSE inspector Matthew Shepherd said: “The company had failed to implement a safe system of work for its loading and unloading activities thereby exposing delivery drivers, such as Mr Robinson, to the risk of being struck by the forklift truck conducting the unloading operation. Mr Robinson sustained serious injuries which have had a significant impact on his life.
“All work settings that use forklift trucks to load or unload goods, need to consider the risks arising from their use and implement adequate segregation controls to ensure the safety of pedestrians, such as delivery drivers, during these activities.”
This HSE prosecution was supported by HSE enforcement lawyer Krystal Savoie and HSE paralegal officer David Walker.