Logistics company fined £800,000 after forklift accident

Barking and Dagenham Council investigated the depot on Choats Road after the incident and found possible health and safety breaches. The authority then issued an improvement notice as a result of the company’s failure to organise its premises, “in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate in a safe manner”. A subsequent site visit found that while a few of the planned actions were still outstanding, there had been effective compliance with the notice.

Kuehne + Nagel Drinks Logistics Limited (KNDL) of Choats Road, Dagenham, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all its employees under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £800,000 plus costs of £25,000

District Judge Susan Holdham in passing judgement said, “I consider that the level of culpability is high. While KNDL had some systems in place – such as the 2-metre rule, the wearing of high-vis vests, [and that] equipment operators face the directions of travel – these were insufficient. KNDL failed to ensure that drivers and crews were not permitted in the warehouse or yard while forklift trucks were operating, they failed to provide barriers around the whole of the warehouse rather than just one side, they failed to provide painted floor markings and zebra crossing points. They failed to provide separate entrances for vehicles and pedestrians as the fire door only had a handle on the inside and thus could not be used from the outside, so pedestrians and vehicles entered by the same main door. Although it does not appear that concerns were raised by the fleet staff and warehouse men … the transit point manager raised concerns. She said that floor markings had been requested for five years: ‘going back five years, we’ve been asking for the floor markings’.

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