NI firm fined £150,000 over breaches after employee seriously injured

Laganside Courts, Belfast
Laganside Courts, Belfast

A Co Antrim firm has been fined £150,000 after an employee suffered serious injuries when a heavy piece of equipment fell on top of him “pinning him to the ground’’.

Briggs Equipment Ltd pleaded guilty to five breaches of healthy and safety legislation at its Mallusk yard three years ago.

Belfast Crown Court heard lorry driver Robert Lewis had delivered a one tonne Hyster pallet stacker truck to the depot in October 2016.

The court heard he had been directed to park his curtain-sided Mercedes truck to a car park in the yard to await the arrival of a forklift driver.

Briggs Equipment Ltd employee Craig Smith was detailed to remove the stacker truck from the lorry.

The court was told that Mr Smith had not removed a stacker truck before and had only been driving a forklift for several months.

As he manoeuvred his forklift to remove the heavy piece of equipment, the stacker truck pivoted on the forks as he turned, falling on top of Mr Lewis who was standing close by and “pinning him to the ground’’.

The victim spent two weeks in hospital where he was treated for serious injuries he sustained, which included fractures to his neck, spine and ribs, along with stitches to his ear and eight staples to his head.

Health and Safety Executive NI carried out an immediate investigation at the Mallusk depot and found a number of failings which led to the accident.

The judge said that Briggs Equipment Ltd, which was owned by an American company, had a turnover last year of £229.4 million.

The company was fined £30,000 fined on each of the health and safety breaches.