Vacu-Lug fined £300,000 in forklift death case

Lincolnshire-based Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres Limited was been fined £300,000 on 15 September after a worker died when the fork lift truck he was driving overturned at the company Grantham headquarters three years earlier.

Lincoln Crown Court heard the worker was transporting tyres on 30 July 2014 when the fork lift ran over a loose tyre in the road. He was crushed between the fork lift truck and the ground and later died from his injuries. He was not wearing a seat belt.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no company policy in place instructing workers to wear seatbelts when operating fork lift trucks. The investigation also found if the tyres had been stored securely this would have prevented them rolling onto the roadway and would have reduced the risk of the fork lift truck overturning.

Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres Limited of Hill Foot, Grantham, Lincolnshire pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,000.

The company accepted the HSE’s findings in an official statement: “Vacu-Lug accepts the findings of the Crown Court and we have co-operated fully with the various authorities following this tragic incident in July 2014. We have all been touched by the death of Steve Woollas, and it is something we live with every day. There is nothing more important than the Health and Safety of our employees. I can only express our deep regret this happened and that it serves as a constant reminder for us to continually strive for the highest safety standards possible.”

Speaking after the hearing HSE Principal inspector David Butter said: “This tragic incident could have easily been prevented if the company had enforced and monitored the wearing of seat belts for fork lift truck drivers”.


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