A scaffolding refurbishment company which admitted negligence at Airdrie Sheriff Court after a 22-year-old employee was fatally crushed when a fork lift truck he had been driving in a yard toppled over has been fined £24,500.
The accident happened in August 2012 at the Coatbridge premises of BD Pinkney and Company, where David Westwater had been driving a fork lift truck down an inclined access way between the factory and the yard.
The firm’s managing director Basil Pinkney pleaded guilty to a series of breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which led to Mr Westwater’s death. The court heard from prosecutor Louise Beattie that Mr Pinkney and his company had failed to provide and maintain a system of work, ensuring that only trained employees operated fork lift trucks.
Ms Beattie said: “They failed to provide instruction, training and supervision to certain employees, in relation to the requirement for restraint belts to be worn and in relation to the hazard created by the carrying out of sharp turning manoeuvres when operating fork lift trucks to ensure their health and safety at work.”
The court heard Mr Westwater was not wearing a restraining belt and performed a sharp turning manoeuvre when the fatal accident happened.
Ms Beattie added: “The fork lift truck tipped over and Mr Westwater was thrown to the ground and struck on the head by the top section of the fork lift truck’s protective cage, trapping his head against the ground, sustaining injuries from which he died.”
Sentencing Pinkney, Sheriff Morag Galbraith said: “As far as this case is concerned the court acknowledges this was a tragic and devastating event for Mr Westwater’s family.
“No fine can, or should be, able to value the life of any person. It is not appropriate to impose a fine which would put you out of business or put at risk the future employment of your workers.”
She reduced the fine from £35,000 to £24,500 as Pinkney had pled guilty at an early stage.