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Forklift driver's lucky escape at Hemel warehouse

The overturned forklift truck at a warehouse in Hemel HempsteadA forklift truck driver could have been seriously injured or even killed when the vehicle he was operating overturned at a warehouse in Hemel Hempstead, a court has been told.

The worker was using the truck to align a one and a half tonne storage container on top of a stack of containers when it overturned at the Cadogan Tate site on Eastman Way on 13 April 2011.

His employer, Cadogan Tate Head Office and Treasury Service Ltd., was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after its investigation found the container was more than two and a half times the safe lifting capacity of the forklift.

On 7 June 2012, Watford Magistrates' Court heard that one of Cadogan Tate's employees had used the forklift truck to lift the storage container, which was filled with books and magazines, on top of a stack of three other containers the day before the incident.

As he lifted it, the rear wheel on the left hand side of the truck lifted off the ground and the container was left overhanging the top of the stack, more than seven metres in the air.

The following day, another worker was asked to return the forklift truck to a stable position and to align the overhanging container. As he tried to move the container, the forklift overturned. He escaped without any injuries.

Cadogan Tate Head Office and Treasury Service Ltd admitted breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) by failing to provide suitable work equipment.

The company, which is part of the global removals, storage and shipping group, Cadogan Tate, also pleaded guilty to a breach of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) after it failed to make sure the work was planned and carried out safety.

The firm, of Acton Lane in London, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £3,860 in prosecution costs.


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