Firm fined over fork lift fall

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A WORKER could have been killed when he fell off a forklift truck while trying to climb onto its roof, a court has heard.

The 29-year-old from Tyldesley struck his head on the ground and was knocked unconscious for several minutes in the incident at Leigh’s Moss Industrial Estate.

His employer, Serviceplan Contracts Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive for failing to make sure the work was planned, supervised and carried out safely.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court was told the worker, who has asked not to be named, had been trying to climb on the roof of the forklift to carry out work to the lifting equipment on August 3 2010. He suffered severe headaches, a painful swelling to his head, and was off work for one week as a result of the fall.

The HSE investigation found it common practice for Serviceplan staff to service the lifting mast and chains on a forklift truck by climbing on top of it. However, they should have been given a stepladder or mobile steps.

Serviceplan, of Smallbrook Lane, admitted breaching the Work at Height Regulations. The company, of Smallbrook Lane in Leigh, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in prosecution costs.

After the hearing, Emily Osborne, the investigating inspector at HSE, said: “One of Serviceplan’s employees was knocked unconscious and suffered a head injury as a result of the fall but it could have been a lot worse – possibly even fatal.

“He had been trained to carry out the work by standing on the roof of the forklift truck, despite there being a serious risk of him being injured in a fall. But Serviceplan simply hadn’t considered the potential dangers of working at height in this way.”