A North London meat wholesaler has been sentenced for operating a fault-ridden fork lift truck and trying to deceive safety inspectors by forging a positive examination report on the vehicle.
MIB United Meat Ltd, of Enfield, Middlesex, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Westminster Magistrates’ Court after admitting three breaches of safety legislation.
The court heard that the offences resulted from a routine health and safety inspection at its premises in Stockingswater Lane, Enfield, on 8th March 2013.
During the visit, an HSE inspector asked to see the vehicle examination records for the company’s 2.5-tonne counterbalance fork lift truck. A document was later emailed to the inspector but appeared to be – and was later proven to be – a fraud.
HSE found the fork lift truck had never been examined, as required by safety rules for lifting equipment, since being purchased in August 2011. A specialist mechanical inspector from HSE, who examined the forklift in April 2013, found more than 40 faults, including some that could have endangered its operator.
HSE served a prohibition notice on MIB United Meat Ltd 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 £2,314 in full costs for single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974; the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Tahir Mortuza said: “MIB United Meat Ltd was required by law to make sure its fork lift truck was maintained regularly and properly examined to allow the identification of safety-critical defects. It failed to do this and the vehicle was allowed to deteriorate to the point of being riddled with faults.
“It compounded this failure with a blatant attempt to deceive HSE by forging documentation purporting to be an examination record. 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.”