Forklift accident driver ‘lucky to escape death’

Scene of forklift truck accident at Cadogan Tate warehouse in Eastman Way, Hemel Hempstead.
Scene of forklift truck accident at Cadogan Tate warehouse in Eastman Way, Hemel Hempstead.

A WAREHOUSE worker on Hemel Hempstead’s industrial estate was lucky to escape serious injury or death when his forklift truck toppled over under the weight of a 1 1/2 tonne load.

The man was attempting to shift a container of books and magazines on a stack more than seven metres high at the Cadogan Tate warehouse in Eastman Way when the truck tipped and the load fell.

The firm has now been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation that found the container was more than 2 1/2 times the safe lifting capacity of the forklift.

At a hearing at Watford Magistrates’ Court last week Cadogan Tate Head Office and Treasury Service Ltd was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £3,860 costs after admitting breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to provide suitable work equipment.

The company – part of the global removals, storage and shipping group Cadogan Tate – also pleaded guilty to breaching the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 after it failed to make sure the work was planned and carried out safely.

The court was told when the accident took place on April 13 last year the driver was trying to correct the work of someone else, who had attempted to stack the container but left the forklift with a wheel off the ground and the box overhanging.

HSE inspector Sandra Dias said afterwards: “The worker at the Cadogan Tate warehouse was lucky not to have been seriously injured or even to have lost his life as a result of the forklift truck overturning. The container was much heavier than most of the others at the warehouse, and the contents should have been split before it was stacked.”