B&Q fined for crushing worker with fork lift

DIY retailer B&Q has been fined by Isleworth Crown Court after a worker was crushed by a pedestrian fork lift truck at the its Yeading store in west London.
The DIY retailer had to pay £65,000 plus £18,500 costs. It previously pleaded guilty to three health and safety offences relating to a failure to provide a safe system of work for the parking of the forklift, in a prosecution brought by Hillingdon Council.

Working in a limited space, the woman operating the vehicle – which is pushed, not driven – had to pull it towards a wall to park it in the store’s warehouse, became stuck between the forklift and the wall, and was unable to free herself.

As a result of the incident, which occurred in November 2013, she suffered crush injuries.

Richard Heller, prosecuting, told the court that the company had failed to apply its mind to the risk of reverse-parking the forklift in a confined space and had failed to heed warnings about this.

In passing sentence, the Crown Court judge accepted that the “protection of the vehicle was given precedence over the safety of the employees”.

Councillor Jonathan Bianco, Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Business Services, said: “This was a very serious incident but thanks to the extensive investigation carried out by our officers this will not be repeated. The warehouse has now been redesigned so the equipment can be used safely.”

A B&Q spokesman told local news website getwestlondon: “We acknowledge the verdict from the hearing. We sincerely regret the incident and the injuries caused. Following the incident, a full investigation was undertaken and corrective measures have been put in place.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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