MEL Health and Safety Consultants

Danger of Unqualified Machinery Drivers

Untrained Forklift Driver Injures Supervisor

The danger of using unqualified staff to operate machinery has been highlighted by an incident in which an untrained driver of a fork-lift truck (FLT) reversed into a supervisor, breaking his leg.


The incident took place on 2 July 2008, when materials were being moved around the warehouse of Line Mark (UK) Ltd of Riverside Business Park, Rossendale, Lancashire, which makes grass-marking products for sports pitches.


The company pleaded guilty to an offence under s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 which covers the duty of the employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all the employees.


Commenting on the case, HSE Inspector Chris Smith said, “This prosecution should serve as a warning to all companies to ensure that fork-lift truck drivers are fully trained and have the relevant qualifications. While this was a serious injury, it could have been far worse.”


The inspector added, “Fork-lift trucks are a potential danger to their operators and to other people in the vicinity if not operated with great care. They should only be used by fully trained and qualified operatives.”


According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), on average, FLTs are involved in 24% of all workplace transport accidents and these are often due to poor supervision and a lack of training.