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Furniture company fined £100k for safety failure

01 September 2021

A FURTITURE manufacturer based in Ilkeston, Derbyshire has been fined after a delivery driver sustained serious leg injuries when he was struck by a reversing lorry in the yard.

Derbyshire Magistrates Court heard how a visiting contractor driver had arrived at Belfield’s’ site in Furnace Road, Ilkeston, parked in position and pulled open the curtains of his lorry trailer for loading by a Belfield Furnishings’ employee. 

Once loaded, the visiting driver was tightening the trailer straps to secure the load when another contractor vehicle drove onto the site. As the HGV vehicle was reversing into position, it struck the man, knocking him to the floor and trapping his legs under the wheels. He sustained fractures to his right tibia and left foot, leaving him with reduced mobility, psychological damage and unable to work again.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that controls in the yard were inadequate.  There was no segregation between vehicles and pedestrians to prevent this type of incident occurring.

Belfield Furnishings Limited of Furnace Road Ilkeston Derbyshire pleaded guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Section 3(1) in that people not in their employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety. The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £18,618.28.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Lindsay Bentley said, “The visiting contractor could have easily been killed. This serious incident could have been avoided if basic safe-guards had been in place to keep people and vehicles apart.”