Category: Grantham

Grantham firm fined after death of forklift truck driver

A Grantham company has been fined £300,000 at Lincoln Crown Court for a breach of health and safety regulations following the death of a forklift truck driver.

Vacu-Lug Traction Tyres Ltd, based at Gonerby Hill Foot, had previously admitted a charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees following the death of Stephen Woollas in July 2014.

The company was also ordered to pay £25,000 towards prosecution costs.

Mr Woollas, who was not wearing a seat belt, died after the forklift truck he was driving tipped over crushing him underneath it.

Alex Stein, prosecuting, said that although the company had health and safety policies in place requiring workers to wear seat belts they did not enforce it.

The investigation into the death of Mr Woollas revealed that the warning device on the seat belt which should have sounded if the belt was not being worn had been disabled.

Instead the belt had been clipped into the latching mechanism behind the seat. Other forklift trucks at the premises, which remoulds tyres, also had the warning device disabled.

The company also failed to enforce a policy that forklift driver should only use reverse when their view going forwards was obstructed.

At the time of the fatal incident Mr Woollas was moving a load of tyres while travelling forward but was unable to fully see what was ahead of him.

Mr Stein said: “Mr Woollas was driving a fork-lift truck at the company’s site when the truck tipped onto its side and he was crushed under it.

“He was driving without a seat belt carrying a load of tyres. There was a restricted view available to him as he was driving forwards. The requirement to reverse in the fork-lift truck wasn’t being enforced.

“The forklift truck became destabilised and tipped over. The investigator is confident that the destabilising came from riding over a tyre. Because Mr Woollas was driving forward with a stack in front of him he had no chance of seeing anything.

“As the fork-lift truck fell over Mr Woollas was trapped. Workers did their very best to free him and an ambulance was called but tragically he did not survive.”

Mr Woollas’ daughter Emily, in a statement read to the court, said: “So many of us have so many beautiful memories of my dad. His sudden and tragic death has left a huge void in all our lives.”

Malcolm Galloway, for Vacu-Lug, said “The company accepts by its plea that it did not do sufficient.

“This is not a bad company. It had taken health and safety very, very seriously and was doing its utmost to make sure that its employees worked within a safe environment.

“This was a company with systems in place to try and be proactive with health and safety. This is not a case of total failure by the company due to disregard and not caring.”

He said the firm, which has a current turnover of £17 million, has a deficit in its pension fund.

“This is a company that is in a genuinely difficult financial position most of which is not the responsibility of the current management.”

Memories of a Spalding man inspire hauliers

A haulage firm is paying tribute to one of its former lorry driving instructors by raising awareness of the disease that claimed his life.

Andrew Grantham (50), from Spalding, died in July 2014 after battling motor neurone disease (MND) for 17 months.

His widow, Julie (49), wants more people to know about MND and the association raising money to try to find a cure.

She spoke to Turners (Soham) Ltd, which has depots in Quadring and Donington, and Andy Woods arranged for MND livery to go on the back of one of the trailers.

Julie, a receptionist at Spalding’s Johnson Community Hospital, said: “Everybody knows about cancer but nobody knows about MND.”

Early symptoms of the fatal illness can be slight or easily attributed to other things and Julie, says, Andrew’s illness was at first attributed to sciatica.

She said: “Andrew was diagnosed with MND in February 2013. He went from being really active to being in a wheelchair within five months and me doing everything for him.”

Despite Andrew’s devastating diagnosis, the couple married in Antigua in May 2013. “We just decided that was what we wanted to do,” said Julie. “We had been together for four years then.”

The couple crammed in as many holidays as they could and raised money for the MND Association.

Julie said: “There’s no cure for MND and you have got to do what you can while you can if you have been diagnosed.”

MND attacks motor nerves or neurons in the brain and spinal cord, killing just under 2,200 people every year in the UK.

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Biker killed on way to mate’s funeral was ‘like a brother’ to his friends inquest hears

The best friend of a biker who was killed in an accident knew something was wrong when he saw blue flashing lights, an inquest has heard.
Powys-Llewelyn Cook, 21, and Ryan Kinning were on their way to the funeral of their friend[1] James Weston who die…

Villager helps police capture four illegal immigrants dropped off in village north of Grantham

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