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Lakenheath: Murfitts Industries fined £28,000 after forklift truck driver suffers severe injuries

PUBLISHED: 17:57 25 April 2014

A west Suffolk manufacturing firm has been ordered to pay £28,000 after a forklift truck driver with no formal training suffered severe injuries while at the wheel.

A west Suffolk manufacturing firm has been ordered to pay £28,000 after a forklift truck driver with no formal training suffered severe injuries while at the wheel.

The fine was handed to Murfitts Industries yesterday over the incident where the 27-year-old’s truck overturned at Murfitts premises in Lakenheath.

The driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, was manoeuvring the vehicle with a clamp attachment in a raised position when it overturned and crushed him.

He suffered severe injuries and subsequently had to have his spleen removed, and now needs permanent antibiotics. He has since returned to work at another company, but still suffers pain.

The incident in September 2012 was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought its case against Murfitts to Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

The court heard the injured worker – who was employed via an agency – had not received any formal training to drive the vehicle and was not wearing a seatbelt.

The company – which manufactures rubber granules – had previously received enforcement action from HSE concerning its management of workplace transport, and as a result had provided training to their own staff but this had not extended to agency workers.

Murfitts was fined £17,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,985 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Steven Gill said: “This injury could easily have been avoided had Murfitts Industries provided sufficient training and adequate supervision to make sure safety measures were in place.

“Forklift trucks can overturn if manoeuvres are not carried out correctly and such risks are well known in the industry. That is why any driver using these vehicles must be provided with appropriate training.

“Murfitts knew the standard for training because they had provided it for their own staff, but failed to ensure that their agency workers were similarly trained.”

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