North Yorkshire Firm Fined After Fatal Accident

Teesside Crown Court has handed out a fine of £135,000 to a North Yorkshire firm after a forklift truck driver was killed in an accident.

Kelvin McGibbon was working at Dalton Airfield Industrial Estate near Thirsk, headquarters of international steel fabrication company Severfield (UK) Limited in March 2013 when the incident occurred.

The forklift truck he was driving struck a concrete step, causing it to overturn and trapping him underneath. Mr McGibbon, from Brompton, near Northallerton, who was not wearing a seatbelt, suffered fatal crush injuries.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation revealed that the firm did not properly manage such operations, failing to enforce seat-belt wearing or speed controls for forklift truck operators.

The offence for which Severfield was prosecuted was not, however, considered to be a significant cause of the 27-year-old operator’s accident.

Severfield (UK) Limited, of Severs House, Dalton Airfield Industrial Estate, Dalton, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, admitted breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

As well as the £135,000 fine, the firm was also ordered to pay £46,020 in costs.

“A company has a legal duty for the health and safety of people working on its site, whether they are employees or not,” said HSE inspector David Welsh.

“They are required to assess risks, eliminate them where possible and enforce proper control measures, such as seat belt wear, by checking that safe driving practices are being followed to deal with the risks that remain.

“Sadly, in this case, the prosecution shows that the company’s management of FLT driving operations and risk control measures failed with tragic consequences for Mr McGibbon and his family.”

Severfield is one of North Yorkshire’s largest private sector employers and was involved in the building of major structures including the Olympic and Emirates stadiums and the iconic Shard of Glass, in London, as well as Gateshead’s Millennium Bridge.

Since the accident the firm has tightened up its safety procedures and made not wearing a seatbelt a gross misconduct.

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