Derbyshire firm fined £450k after forklift truck driver death

5 September 2017

Derbyshire-based Vinyl Compound has been fined £450,000 after the death of a 19-year-old worker, who was killed when a forklift truck overturned at the company’s site in Chinley, Derbyshire.

Manchester Crown Court (Minshull Street) heard how, on 10 February 2015, Ben Pallier-Singleton was driving a forklift truck during night-time hours down a sloping roadway, when it overturned and the employee suffered fatal crush injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Derbyshire Constabulary found the employee was not adequately trained nor was he wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident.

It was also found the company did not inform their employees of the speed limit on site, had not put measures in place to control the speed of vehicles, and failed to have adequate lighting and edge protection in place to avoid forklift trucks overturning.

Vinyl Compound Ltd of Stephanie Works, High Park, Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. As well as the fine, the company was ordered to pay costs of £71,778.20.

Pallier-Singleton’s mother, Kathryn Pallier, said after the sentencing hearing: “I am heartbroken and angry that Ben could go to work and be killed because his employer, Vinyl Compounds, took so little care of him, failed to train him or make sure the workplace was safe. It is utterly shocking that this can happen even now.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Berian Price said: “This tragic incident could have easily been prevented. The company’s management of forklift truck driving operations and its failure to provide various measures to ensure the safety of the external yard area coupled with the lack of safe driver measures, such as wearing a seat belt, exposed employees to serious safety risks.

“Sadly, in this case, these failures resulted in the needless loss of Mr Pallier-Singleton’s life.”

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