A kitchen-maker has been fined £1.2m after a delivery driver was crushed to death at a depot.Richard Brown, 48, from Hull, died when a fork-lift truck unloading two pallets of kitchen worktops “overbalanced” at Howden Joinery’s Workington site on 10 November 2014.The falling load weighed 2,160kg and crushed him against his lorry.The firm was fined at Carlisle Crown Court after admitting health and safety breaches.The court heard the maximum operational capacity of the fork-lift truck was 1,520kg – meaning it had been 42% overloaded.
Although Howden Joinery was deemed to have had a proper system of risk assessments and training in place, Judge Peter Hughes QC concluded this was “not fool-proof”.An investigation revealed there had been four similar fork-lift truck overbalancing incidents at other Howden Joinery depots during 2014 alone. Two of those occurred in the week before the Workington tragedy.Judge Hughes noted the company’s overall “excellent safety record”. Since Mr Brown’s death, the firm has introduced fork-lift truck overload alarms and increased the safety zone size for HGV drivers.Howden Joinery – which is said to have a £1.2bn annual turnover, 600 UK depots and 7,500 staff – was also ordered to pay £33,902 costs.Judge Hughes concluded the company’s breach of duty was “a significant cause of death”.
Source: BBC Cumbria