Hire giant fined £900k after worker crushed to death

Nationwide has been fined £900,000 after a man was crushed to death while attempting to move a scissor lift at the company’s workshop in Liskeard, Cornwall, on 4 November 2021.

Lee Benham, 45, was working for Nationwide as an LGV driver when the incident occurred. He was operating the scissor lift from the ground to clear an access path so he could move pieces of machinery out of the workshop and load them onto his lorry in the yard.

The moveable controls on the scissor lift were in such a position that its direction was inverted. When Benham operated the machinery, it came towards him and crushed him against a static scissor lift.

‘A reminder for thorough risk assessments’

Nationwide MEWP hire company fined
Benham with his wife Kelly and two children

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Nationwide Platforms Ltd failed to sufficiently consider the dangers of operating machinery via moveable controls, and failed to provide appropriate monitoring and supervision during the morning when drivers were loading machinery onto their lorries.

There were 29 fatalities in 2022/23 caused by contact with moving vehicles or machinery, according to the HSE.

Nationwide Platforms Ltd, of Central Park, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £900,000 and ordered to pay £12,405 in costs at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on 21 December 2023.

HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “This was a tragic incident and a stark reminder to businesses to be thorough in their risk assessment. The situation which led to Lee’s death would not have arisen had appropriate control measures been in place.”

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