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A builders’ merchants in Colchester, Essex has been fined following an incident involving a customer being hit by a forklift truck.


Kent Blaxill & Co Ltd pleaded guilty to three separate breaches of health and safety regulations. Colchester Magistrates' Court heard that the firm had “failed to ensure the workplace was organised in such a way that pedestrians and vehicles could circulate in a safe manner”.


The incident occurred in September 2014, when the female victim was struck by a forklift that was overtaking a vehicle in the yard. She was knocked to the ground with serious injuries.


According to the prosecution for Colchester Council, Rachel Scarrott, the victim has suffered a form of brain injury, and could have died during the incident. Since the incident, the victim has no sense of taste or smell. The court was informed that compensation has been settled during a civil claim, but Scarrott pointed out that the company had failed to sufficiently separate pedestrians and vehicles in the yard, and that there had been a failure to supply warnings or take precautions to avoid such an incident.


The prosecution argued that the case should be held in the Crown Court so that the fines could be steeper, although the company profit was not as high as initially believed by Scarrott. A total of £63,370 was charged, including costs.


All companies have a duty of care to employees and members of the public, including the use of PPE for workers where necessary.

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