Carlisle worker injured by forklift truck

Michael Hunt

Tyre manufacturer Pirelli has been fined £9,000 after a worker suffered a broken leg when he was hit by a forklift truck at the company's Carlisle factory.

Allan Miller, a 62-year-old contractor, was walking through an area within the curing department at the Dalston Road site when he was struck from behind by a pallet being carried on a forklift truck. He suffered a broken leg and has been unable to return to his normal duties.

Pirelli Tyres was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive for failing to properly manage the risks to pedestrians in the area, including failing to inform contractors of the precautions required to ensure their safety.

North Cumbria Magistrates' Court in Carlisle heard that forklift truck drivers' vision was frequently obscured because their loads had to be lowered to avoid overhead obstructions. A previous risk assessment by Pirelli had identified that the area should be a pedestrian-free zone.

There had also been several previous incidents in the same area of the Pirelli factory in Carlisle, involving pedestrians and forklift trucks.

Michael Griffiths, the investigating Health and Safety Executive inspector, said: "Workplace transport continues to be one of the biggest causes of death and serious injury in the UK. If a person is struck by a forklift truck, or another industrial vehicle like an HGV, then the consequences are usually severe. In this case, the forklift truck was moving very slowly and yet it still broke the victim's leg.

"The storage area should have been clearly marked as 'pedestrian free', and the injured worker should have been told of the risks prior to the incident in October 2009.

"Site operators should provide contractors with appropriate health and safety information, so that they can do their work safely. In practice, this means sharing information about the workplace, the routes to be used and types of vehicles and equipment on site. Specific hazards and other people on site, including other contractors or visiting drivers, should also be considered."

Pirelli Tyres pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was ordered to pay £4,282 towards the cost of the prosecution as well as the fine at North Cumbria Magistrates' Court in Carlisle on Friday 16 July.

The Health and Safety Executive said were 32 deaths and more than 22,000 serious injuries in the manufacturing sector in Great Britain last year.

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