Retail store chain Wilko has been handed a £200,000 fine after an employee was killed in a crash between two fork lift trucks at one of the firm’s distribution centres.
George Hancock died in December 2011 after sustaining injuries in the accident. He was crushed by the truck’s roll cage as it tipped over.
An investigation was launched by Bassetlaw District Council EHOs. They found the ‘most immediate causes’ of the fatality were ‘certain driving practices’ and that the company did not ensure drivers wore seat belts.
An inquest was held at Nottingham Coroner’s Court in December 2013. A jury recorded a verdict of accidental death.
A prosecution was brought to Nottingham Crown Court on 13 January. The company pleaded guilty to charges brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The judge said the fork lift trucks operated in a dangerous environment and there was no proper monitoring of movements.
Wilko was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £199,943.
The council said that following the accident the company improved their health and safety measures for transport at the distribution centre, including measures to ensure safety belts are used.
Julie Leigh, Bassetlaw’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: ‘We wish to express again our sincere condolences to the family of Mr Hancock. A death at work is always a most tragic event and the impact on the family of the deceased, their colleagues and their friends cannot be under estimated.
‘One of the outcomes of this case is the importance of employers being vigilant in ensuring their fork lift drivers wear the fitted seat belts whilst driving their vehicles, and for such staff to always’ buckle up’ every time they get onto a truck.
‘No-one would want any other family to have to suffer a similar loss in the future.’
A Wilko spokesperson said: ‘Everyone at Wilko was devastated by the death of George Hancock in this tragic accident. He was a highly valued team member, who was sadly fatally injured whilst carrying out his normal duties at our Worksop Distribution Centre four years ago.
‘The responsibility for the health and safety of our team members through safe working practices rests with Wilko. Our thoughts, and those of his colleagues, are with his family.’
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