Recent prosecutions: £85,000 fine following fatal forklift truck accident

A business received a fine of over £85,000 after a driver was killed while using a forklift truck to load a heavy goods vehicle (HGV). 

The 60-year-old’s forklift truck overturned as the HGV he was loading moved forward unexpectedly. The worker, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was trapped under the vehicle and suffered fatal injuries. 

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that the man’s employer had failed to sufficiently manage vehicle movements through safe systems of work or to enforce seatbelt rules for forklift truck operatives. 

The hearing suggested that a seat belt would have likely saved the worker’s life. 

The company pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was ordered to pay a £86,710 fine and £5,903 in costs. 

The HSE inspector said: ‘The failures of this company has left a family without the man they loved. The importance of wearing seatbelts cannot be stressed enough.

‘The failures meant the company exposed employees, and others, to the risk of being struck or caught by workplace vehicles.

‘All work settings that use a forklift truck to load or unload goods, need to consider the risks arising from their use, and implement adequate measures to ensure the safety of those involved in these activities.’

Step up forklift safety on your site

Forklift trucks are essential to efficient site operations – however, they’re a contributing factor in almost 25% of workplace accidents. Common forklift-related hazards include insufficient training, unsafe stacking and manoeuvring operations, absence of segregation measures, poor quality equipment, and lax seatbelt rules.

Risks can be significantly reduced with a few basic safety strategies: 

  • Make seat belts mandatory
  • Separate drivers and pedestrians
  • Run daily equipment and vehicle checks 
  • Perform ongoing maintenance  
  • Commit to career-long training  

To learn more about the fundamentals of forklift safety, read our back-to-basics blog

For personalised support for site-specific compliance and vehicle safety concerns, speak to your Opus Safety consultant. We’re waiting to help on 0330 043 4015 or email