B&Q fined £85k over fork­lift truck death

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

DIY re­tailer B&Q has been or­dered to pay £83,500 after a worker was crushed by a fork­lift truck at the company’s Yead­ing store.

The re­tailer was sentenced at Isle­worth Crown Court on Jan­uary 16, hav­ing pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to three health and safety of­fences re­lat­ing to the company’s fail­ure to pro­vide ar­range­ments for park­ing the fork­lift.

Be­cause of the limited space avail­able inside the ware­house at the store in Glen­coe Road, the woman op­er­at­ing the ‘Mini Bendi’ ve­hi­cle – which is pushed, not driven – had to pull it to­wards a wall to park it.

She be­came stuck be­tween the fork­lift and the wall on Novem­ber 20, 2013, re­sult­ing in crush­ing in­juries.

Richard Heller, prose­cut­ing, told the court the company had failed to con­sider the risk of re­verse park­ing the fork­lift in a con­fined space and had failed to heed warn­ings about this.

In pass­ing sen­tence, the judge ac­cepted that the ‘pro­tec­tion of the ve­hi­cle was given prece­dence over the safety of the em­ploy­ees’.

The case was in­ves­ti­gated by Hilling­don Coun­cil fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dent no­ti­fi­ca­tion from the store.

The company, which runs more than 350 stores in the UK and achieved prof­its of more than £187mil­lion in the fi­nan­cial year end­ing Fe­bru­ary 2013, was fined £65,000 and or­dered to pay the coun­cil another £18,500.

Coun­cil­lor Jonathan Bianco, cab­i­net mem­ber for fi­nance, prop­erty and business ser­vices, said: “This was a very se­ri­ous in­ci­dent but thanks to the ex­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion car­ried out by our of­fi­cers this will not be re­peated.

The ware­house has now been redesigned so the equip­ment can be used safely.”

A B&Q spokesman said: “We ac­knowl­edge the ver­dict from the hear­ing.

“We sin­cerely re­gret the in­ci­dent and the in­juries caused.

“Fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent, a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion was un­der­taken and cor­rec­tive mea­sures have been put in place.”

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