Lack of separation – people and vehicles (including FLT)

The lack of separation between people and vehicles (which also includes things like forklift trucks, FLT)  has resulted in a national manufacturer and supplier of fitted kitchens, appliances and joinery products being fined £1.2 million after the death of a visiting HGV driver at one of the company’s premises.

The Crown Court in Carlisle heard how an agency driver (RB) was delivering kitchen worktops to a Howden Joinery Ltd site in Workington when he was crushed to death as a forklift truck (FLT) overturned whilst lifting kitchen worktops from the trailer of the HGV. An investigation into the incident that took place on 10 November 2014 found the FLT had been overloaded and that visiting delivery drivers were not kept at a safe distance from the loading and unloading operations.

Howden Joinery Ltd of Portman Square, London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company has been fined £1.2 million and ordered to pay costs of £33,902.00.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Steven Boyd commented on the separation of people and vehicles:

Standing too close to where loading or unloading work is being carried out can put people in harm’s way so people, such as delivery drivers, should be in a position of safety when forklift trucks are operating.

This tragic incident could have been avoided if Howden Joinery Ltd had implemented a safe procedure to ensure that pedestrians were kept at a safe distance during loading and unloading work.

Duty holders should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.Separating pedestrians and vehicles

Key messages for the separation of people and vehicles

  • Pedestrians or vehicles must be able to use a traffic route without causing danger to the health or safety of people working near it
  • Roadways and footpaths should be separate whenever possible
  • You need to consider protection for people who work near vehicle routes.
  • Traffic routes must also keep vehicle routes far enough away from doors or gates that pedestrians use, or from pedestrian routes that lead on to them, so the safety of pedestrians is not threatened
  • Raise awareness

Workplace death statistics

Being struck by a moving vehicle accounted for 31 fatal injuries to workers in 2016/17 compared with 28
in 2015/16 and an annual average of 25 over the period 2012/13-2016/17. The figures for 2016/17 make being struck by a moving vehicle the biggest single cause of workplace fatal accidents for that year.