Basildon Magistrates’ Court were told that the defective forklift truck belonging to Aveley Construction was heavily used at the firms South Ockendon works for more than 12 months without any kind of thorough examination.
It is a legal requirement to check such equipment at least once a year, yet the truck, used to move heavy steel fabrications, was kept in continuous use for well over a year despite showing obvious signs of disrepair.
Magistrates were told that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out on 23 June 2011 found that when the truck was eventually examined only six items out of 24 that formed the basis of the report were marked “satisfactory”. The remaining 18 items were classed as “repair needed”.
Defects included worn out tyres, flashing beacons and lamps not working and a loose counter-weight.
Aveley Construction was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,238 in costs after admitting breaches of the Lifting Operations & Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
HSE inspector Keith Waller said: “The company’s forklift truck had a number of serious defects which put the driver and those in the vicinity of the truck at risk of being seriously injured or even killed.
“All machinery must be maintained regularly to ensure it is safe to work with and be near. It is not enough to rely on reactive maintenance and only fix things when they go wrong.
“Companies should be looking for signs of wear and tear before any deterioration leads to an incident.
“HSE will not hesitate to prosecute when companies neglect their equipment and put workers and others at risk.”