Bottler pays price for forklift fiasco

A BOTTLING firm has had to fork out more than £20,000 after a worker was filmed being lifted on the prongs of a forklift truck.
H&A Prestige Packing Company Ltd appeared in court after one of its employees was injured during the incident.
The 39-year-old worker from Preston was filmed standing on the forks of the vehicle as it lifted him and a battery-operated pallet truck across the warehouse floor at the Chorley firm.
As the vehicle moved, the pallet truck overbalanced and fell from the forklift.
The worker tried to hold on but also lost his balance and was caught between the forks on the pallet truck.
He avoided being burned by the battery acid that leaked onto the floor, but suffered bruising to his right hip and thigh.
South Ribble Magistrates’ Court, in Leyland, was told the company had been hired to bottle an energy drink for export that is used during fasting.
The pallets of bottles were heavier than usual, each weighing one-and-a-quarter tonnes, so a pallet truck was used to move them inside the containers.
On the day of the incident, the warehouse shift manager had stood on the prongs on the forklift on four separate occasions so that the pallet truck could be lifted in and out of the containers.
When he finished his shift at lunchtime, he asked another worker to take over. It was this worker who fell from the forklift approximately 40 minutes later.
A HSE investigation found that several workers and managers had been seen standing on the prongs on forklift trucks on several occasions prior to the incident.
However, the behaviour had remained unchallenged by two layers of management.
H&A Prestige Packing Company Ltd pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
It was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £6,657 for the offences.