Company’s safety failings exposed workers to serious risk

A firm has been fined £18,000 for operating a fault-ridden forklift truck and trying to deceive safety inspectors by forging a positive examination report on the vehicle.

Middlesex-based MIB United Meat Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last week, after admitting three breaches of safety legislation.

Westminster Magistrates Court heard that the failings came to light following a routine health and safety inspection at the company’s premises in Stockingswater Lane, Enfield, on March 8th last year.

During the visit, an HSE inspector asked to see the vehicle examination records for the company’s 2.5-tonne counterbalance forklift truck. A document was later emailed to the inspector but appeared to be – and was later proven to be – a fraud.

HSE found the truck had never been examined, as required by safety rules for lifting equipment, since being purchased in August 2011. A specialist mechanical inspector, who examined the vehicle in April 2013, found more than 40 faults, including some that could have endangered its operator.

The meat wholesalers were served with a prohibition notice to stop any use of the vehicle until it was safe to use.

MIB was fined a total of £18,000 and ordered to pay £2314 in full costs for single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974; the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.

Tahir Mortuza, HS2 inspector, said: “This is a serious offence and demonstrates that the company was willing to expose its employees to the risk of serious injury or even death.”

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