NI Pipe Company Fined £24,000 for Fatal Forklift Accident at Work

A manufacturer of plastic drainage pipes has been fined £24,000 for health and safety failings that resulted in a fatal forklift accident at work.

The manufacturer – Cherry Pipes Ltd of Dungannon in County Tyrone – was prosecuted by inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) following an investigation into a fatal forklift accident at work.

According to the inspectors´ report, a 49-year-old Polish employee – Arkadiusz Makosa – was fatally injured when a forklift he was driving overturned at the company´s premises in Crumlin, County Antrim. Tragically, Mr Makosa was crushed beneath the weight of the vehicle´s safety frame that was there to protect him.

The inspectors discovered that Mr Makosa was employed as a general operative by the manufacturing company and not as a forklift truck operator, and had therefore received no professional training on manoeuvring the vehicle. Cherry Pipes Ltd was charged with four breaches of health and safety laws that resulted in the fatal forklift accident at work:

  • Article 4(1) of the Health and Safety Work at Work Order (NI) 1978.
  • Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999.
  • Regulation 9(2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999.
  • Regulation 10(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000.

At Antrim Crown Court, David Cherry – the managing director of Cherry Pipes Ltd – called the death of Mr Makosa “a tragic loss”. After pleading guilty to the charges brought against the company, Mr Cherry told the court that the company had conducted a full review of its internal health and safety procedures to ensure that there will be no repeat of the fatal forklift accident at work.

Cherry Pipes Ltd was fined £6,000 for each breach of health and safety legislation and ordered to pay £854 – following which Health and Safety Executive inspector Kevin Campbell said: “Employers must ensure that operators of forklift trucks are properly trained, competent and authorised to operate lift trucks.”

He added: “No one should be allowed to operate a forklift truck unless they have received the appropriate training and instruction. It is also essential that all employers provide health and safety information to their employees that is clear and easily understood.”