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Firm fined £5,000 after worker run over by forklift truck

July 30 2014

An Aberdeen firm has been fined £5,000 for safety failings after a worker was injured when a forklift truck ran over his leg and foot.

Derek Bonnar, 51, from Aberdeen, was working for Scotoil Services Ltd at its premises in Miller Street when the incident occurred on 17th August 2012.

Mr Bonnar was one of four men working in two teams to pressure-wash naturally-occurring radioactive material from components in two large wash bays, both in a restricted zone on site, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told.

The incident occurred when a colleague driving a forklift truck reversed the vehicle and then moved forward to load more components – as he did so Mr Bonnar was moving backwards while hosing down the next bay.

The truck collided with Mr Bonnar who suffered a broken leg and fractures to his foot.  He spent a week in hospital, several more weeks in a wheelchair and has yet to return to work.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Scotoil had failed to provide sufficient segregation between pedestrians and vehicles in the restricted zone. It also failed to provide sufficient instructions to control vehicle movements in the area while pedestrians were working.

The court was told there had been a similar incident a year earlier, in 2011, when a Scotoil employee was injured when he was struck by a forklift truck which was reversing within a building on the site.

Scotoil Services Ltd, of Davidson House, Miller Street, Aberdeen, was fined £5,000 after admitting to breaching Regulation 17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Sarah Forbes, said: “Scotoil Services Ltd was aware of the need for vehicles to be working in this area at the same time as workers, but despite this it failed to put measures, such as walkways or marked transport routes, in place to prevent the risk of vehicles colliding with pedestrians.

“The dangers associated with vehicle movements around pedestrians are well-known. Every year there are over 5,000 incidents involving transport in the workplace. About 50 of these result in people being killed.

“This incident was entirely avoidable. Instead Mr Bonnar was left with a painful injury, and needed several months to recover.”

If you or your family have suffered a personal injury in the workplace, call UnionLine on 0300 333 0303.