Cargo Services (UK) Ltd were fined £110,000 with costs of £60,246 after conviction under breach of Section 3(1) HSWA following an incident on 18 June 2010. Robert Deverell, an employee of Dyfed Steels, was assisting an employee of Cargo Services who was driving a forklift to load 18 metre steel beams into an articulated lorry. During the procedure, Mr Deverell came around the side of the lorry to speak to the driver, but as the forklift reversed it struck Mr Deverell and ran over his right leg which subsequently had to be amputated below the knee. The HSE’s investigation criticised both the inadequate segregation procedures intended to keep visitors away from forklifts as well as the condition of the forklift itself, which had no reversing mirror, and broken reversing alarms which had apparently been out of action for some time. Immediately following the incident, Cargo Services were served with a Prohibition Notice and two Improvement Notices all of which were complied with. A prosecution followed for breach of Section 3(1) HSWA. Cargo Services defended, but following a six day trial, were found guilty.
Cargo Services was ordered to pay £170,246 representing 117.6% of the company’s pre-tax profit of £93,516, and 0.9% of its £12.2m turnover. This fine appears high for a case where the incident did not result in death. However, the Judge was critical of the failures in the system of work which were considered to be an aggravating factor. As was the case in the prosecution of New Look in 2009 where fines of £400,000 were imposed for fire safety breaches notwithstanding that they did not result in death, or even serious injury, the Court did not shy away from imposing a fine exceeding £100,000 where the risk was considered sufficiently serious to warrant that.