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Crushing fine for Howdens

Howdens, the trade supplier of fitted kitchens, appliances and joinery products was fined £1.2 million at the end of last year, following the death of a visiting HGV driver at one of its premises.

Richard Brown, an agency driver, was delivering kitchen worktops to a Howden Joinery Ltd in Workington when a forklift truck overturned whilst lifting kitchen worktops from the trailer of the HGV, crushing him to death, Carlisle Crown Court was told.

An investigation found the forklift truck had been overloaded and that visiting delivery drivers were not kept at a safe distance from the loading and unloading operations.

Howden Joinery Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

In addition to the £1.2 million fine, the company was ordered to pay costs of £33,902.

HSE inspector Steven Boyd said: “Standing too close to where loading or unloading work is being carried out can put people in harm’s way so people, such as delivery drivers, should be in a position of safety when forklift trucks are operating.

“This tragic incident could have been avoided if a safe procedure to ensure that pedestrians were kept at a safe distance during loading and unloading work had been implemented.

“Duty holders should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”


About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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