24 Apr 2013

Construction Company Fined for Failing to Maintain Forklift Truck

An Essex construction company has been fined for putting workers at risk after neglecting to check and maintain a potentially dangerous piece of lifting equipment.

Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday (19 April) that a forklift truck belonging to Aveley Construction Ltd was heavily used at the company’s South Ockendon premises for more than 12 months without any kind of thorough examination.

It is a legal requirement to check such equipment at least once a year, yet the truck, used to move heavy steel fabrications, was kept in continuous use for well over a year despite showing obvious signs of disrepair.

Magistrates were told that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out on 23 June 2011 found that when the truck was eventually examined only six items out of 24 that formed the basis of the report were marked "satisfactory". The remaining 18 items were classed as "repair needed".

Defects included worn out tyres, flashing beacons and lamps not working and a loose counter-weight.

Aveley Construction Limited, of Aveley Industrial Estate, Arcany Road, South Ockendon, was fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,238 in costs after admitting single breaches of the Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Keith Waller said:

"The company’s forklift truck had a number of serious defects which put the driver and those in the vicinity of the truck at risk of being seriously injured or even killed.

"All machinery must be maintained regularly to ensure it is safe to work with and be near. It is not enough to rely on reactive maintenance and only fix things when they go wrong; companies should be looking for signs of wear and tear before any deterioration leads to an incident.

"HSE will not hesitate to prosecute when companies neglect their equipment and put workers and others at risk."

HSE Bulletin No: HSE-E-017/13 (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)


It's amazing to think that companies continue to overlook something as basic as a pre-use check of a significant piece of equipment like a FLT. Judging by the list of faults found, it must have been plainly obvious that the truck was in need of maintenance and repair (even without using one of our simple checklists to walk through the various items on the forklift). I can only assume that these faults were ignored, so as to save money, however the £6k+ fine/costs far outweigh the cost of implementing our simple tag & checklist system which allows you to carry out daily checks of the forklift for an entire year for considerably less than £100. It also provides the additional benefit of an audit trail in accordance with PUWER & LOLER regulations. Good to Go Safety systems are proactive in their approach to spotting potential problems early and allowing repairs to be carried out before they develop into a much more serious and dangerous fault.


On this occasion, thankfully there were no injuries/fatalities as a result of negligent equipment management but why take the risk? Employers and employees alike should be confident that their workplace equipment is always Good to Go. 


To find out more about our forklift inspection tags and checklists please visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk for more information.



Section 9(3) of the Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 states: "every employer shall ensure that lifting equipment which is exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is (a) thoroughly examined (i) in the case of lifting equipment for lifting persons or an accessory for lifting, at least every 6 months; (ii) in the case of other lifting equipment, at least every 12 months; or (iii) in either case, in accordance with an examination scheme; and (iv) each time that exceptional circumstances which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the lifting equipment have occurred; and (b) if appropriate for the purpose, is inspected by a competent person at suitable intervals between thorough examinations, to ensure that health and safety conditions are maintained and that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in good time."


Section 5(1) of the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: "Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair."

2 comments:

  1. Where does the Operator / "DRIVER" get his Butt kicked ? After all "HE" is the one who is supposed to be trained in the use of a forklift,

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  2. A valid point. I guess it depends on whether the company had actually trained their driver and whether he was considered to be a competent driver. Of course it's also possible that he had raised concerns but was told to carry on anyway in these financially difficult times. As ever with these stories we only see a snippit of the full story so can only speculate.

    What isn't in doubt though is that PUWER Section 5(1)states that "Every EMPLOYER shall ensure that work equipment is maintained ..."

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