Company pays out for forklift accident

A company based in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, has been fined £24,000 for not training a general operative who was fatally injured when a forklift truck he was driving overturned.

Arkadiusz Makosa, a 49-year-old Polish employee, was working for Cherry Pipes Limited in Dungannon when the accident occurred. However, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) into the incident found that the deceased had been employed as a general operative and, as a result, had not been trained sufficiently to operate the company's forklift trucks. The accident took place in August 2014 at the company’s premises in Nutts Corner Business Park, Crumlin, County Antrim.

Sentencing was carried out by Antrim Crown Court, which ordered Cherry Pipes Ltd to pay a fine of £24,000 and costs of £854 for four separate health and safety breaches that led to the death of the employee.

If you run a business that requires skilled work or specific training, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your employees at work. As well as good health and safety policies, your business should also consider employers’ liability insurance in addition to your general business insurance.

David Cherry, managing director of Cherry Pipes Ltd, called Mr Makosa’s death "a tragic loss".

Speaking with the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Cherry said: "We are a close-knit family company and Arkadiusz Makosa's death remains a tragic loss to his family and his work colleagues, and he is sadly missed by all his friends throughout the business.”

Following the court decision, Mr Cherry said that the company had taken steps to improve safety.

Commenting on the verdict, Kevin Campbell, an inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team, said: “Employers must ensure that operators of forklift trucks are properly trained, competent and authorised to operate lift trucks. No one should be allowed to operate a forklift truck unless they have received the appropriate training and instruction.

“It is also essential that employers provide health and safety information to their employees that is clear and easily understood."