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May 19, 2015

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£185,000 fine after worker hurt driving faulty picker truck

A Milton Keynes-based company has been fined £185,000 after a worker was injured driving a faulty picker truck.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard on 15 May how Mr Hayes was thrown from the low level order picker when its steering malfunctioned, resulting in his right foot becoming trapped underneath it, fracturing three of his bones.

An investigation by Milton Keynes Council’s environmental health team found that the vehicle Mr Hayes had driven had been reported as defective but had not been repaired.

Logistics company Kuehne + Nagel  were found to not have an adequate system in place to ensure that defective vehicles were taken out of use and repaired prior to being reused.

It was discovered that management had been advised of failings by staff but the company failed to heed these warnings.

The company based in Snelshall West, Milton Keynes pleaded guilty and was fined £185,000, for one breach under Sections 2 and 33 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The firm was also ordered to pay Milton Keynes Council’s costs of £25,500.

In his sentencing summary of the case, Judge Sheridan stated that he “found serious failures of senior managers who ought to have recognised ongoing problems.”

He concluded that the company ‘fell well below the reasonably practicable test’ and it was ‘not just reasonably foreseeable but a nightmare waiting to happen.’

Failings included breaches of general and mandatory health and safety provisions and a systematic failure to provide a safe system of work.

Following the hearing, health and safety inspector for Milton Keynes Council, Martin Brown said: “We are very pleased with the result and fine imposed as it reiterates the importance of treating health & safety seriously.

“This accident was not just reasonably foreseeable it was, as a result of the company’s failings, virtually inevitable.”

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