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£600k fine following death of young forklift driver

16 June 2021

A PAPER recycling company has been fined £600,000 following the death of a 20-year-old agency worker who suffered fatal crush injuries at a plant in Crayford, London.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on 9 October 2018, agency worker Jamie Wright was driving a forklift truck at Restore Datashred Ltd’s plant when it overturned. He was not wearing a seatbelt and became trapped between the forklift’s rollover protective structure and the floor. He sustained fatal crush injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found significant failings in the management of workplace transport risks at the site, including issues relating to operator competence and supervision and monitoring.

Restore Datashred Ltd of Queen Elizabeth Distribution Centre in Purfleet, Essex pleaded guilty to a breaching of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £22,860.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Whittle said, “This was a tragic and preventable work-related incident.

“Companies need to ensure that work equipment, such as forklift trucks, is only operated by those who are trained and competent to do so, and that temporary workers are not allowed to slip through the cracks with regard to appropriate training, supervision and management.”