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Co Tyrone firm fined £25,000 over forklift death

By Allan Preston

Published 30/01/2016

A Dungannon company was yesterday fined nearly £25,000 after an employee was killed in a forklift accident in 2014
A Dungannon company was yesterday fined nearly £25,000 after an employee was killed in a forklift accident in 2014

A Dungannon company was yesterday fined nearly £25,000 after an employee was killed in a forklift accident in 2014.

Arkadiusz Makosa, a 49-year-old worker from Poland, was working for Cherry Pipes Ltd in August 2014 when the forklift he was driving overturned, trapping him between the safety frame of the vehicle and the ground and crushing him to death.

The fatal accident happened at the pipe-making company's premises at Nutts Corner business park in Crumlin, Co Antrim.

Antrim Crown Court heard that an investigation had concluded Mr Makosa did not have the proper training to operate the forklift as he was employed as a general operator, not a forklift operator.

The company was fined £24,000, plus costs of £854, for four health and safety breaches that led to the death.

David Cherry, the managing director of Cherry Pipes, called the death of Mr Makosa "a tragic loss".

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he said: "We are a close-knit family company and Arkadiusz's death remains a tragic loss to his family and his work colleagues, and he is sadly missed by all his friends throughout the business."

Following the court decision yesterday, Mr Cherry said that the company had taken steps to improve safety.

"We have carried out a full review of our internal health and safety procedures to ensure that there will be no repeat of the accident," he added.

"We wish to place on record our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Arkadiusz Makosa.

"We have a strong connection to the Polish community through our workforce, and our fond memories of Arkadiusz will remain with us forever."

Speaking after Friday's sentencing at Antrim Crown Court, Health and Safety Executive inspector Kevin Campbell added: "Employers must ensure that operators of forklift trucks are properly trained, competent and authorised to operate lift trucks."

"No one should be allowed to operate a forklift truck unless they have received the appropriate training and instruction.

"It is also essential that all employers provide health and safety information to their employees that is clear and easily understood."

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