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May 7, 2014

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Booker Limited in court following woman’s forklift crush death

Booker Limited has admitted breaching health and safety rules at a cash and carry store where a woman was crushed to death by a reversing forklift truck, it has been reported. 
 
Warehouse assistant Annie Brennan, 49, was killed in December 2011, when she was run over by a forklift truck as she was walking behind it at the Booker store in Avonmouth.
 
Ms Brennan was hit by the gas-powered forklift as it was reversing around a corner and was trapped underneath it until Avon Fire and Rescue released her.
 
Paramedics found her heart had stopped when they arrived and she was not breathing.
 
She was resuscitated on the way to Frenchay Hospital in the air ambulance but died from multiple fractures and internal injuries shortly after arriving.
 
Richard Matthews, who was representing the company, admitted a single charge on the company’s behalf, for failing to ensure the health and safety welfare of employees. 
 
The charge, brought by Alan Fuller on behalf of Bristol City Council, stated that the company had failed “to ensure the goods-in area was organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner and failed to carry out and implement a suitable and sufficient risk assessment”.
 
An inquest in 2013 heard that a council investigator found health and safety measures on the site to be ‘inadequate’. There was no speed limit and no segregation between pedestrians and vehicles in the loading bay where the fatal incident occurred, where there had been several previous “near-misses”.
 
The inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death but in a statement to the coroner they reiterated: “There was no line segregating vehicles and pedestrians.”
 
Ms Brennan’s sister Deborah Teagle, 51, from Lawrence Weston, said after the inquest: “Annie was such a bubbly, selfless character and she was a rock for the family, looking out for us all and caring for our dad.
 
“She enjoyed her job at the factory and had been there most of her working life. She was very loyal.
 
“When we received the call to say what had happened we were just in complete shock.
 
“It didn’t feel real that Annie, who was always so full of life, was gone.”
 
She went on to praise the emergency services on the day, thanking them for doing “everything they could to try and save her”.
The company will be sentenced on a future date yet to be arranged.

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Ian Lumsden Grad IOSH
Ian Lumsden Grad IOSH
8 years ago

I have seen the effects with the lack of refresher training in the past which has cost companies due to product and machinery damage. The amount of injuries and deaths attributed to forklift truck operations in the United Kingdom should prompt company health and safety professionals to push for refresher training at least every three years, this could have a massive impact on forklift truck incidents. Had the operators been correctly trained or refreshed this incident may not have happened,