Untrained forklift driver ran over his own worker

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Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae said Jose Manuel Pinto Salgado, who is director and sole shareholder of Jersey Road and Driveway Repair Ltd, deserved a penalty that would ‘sting’, to reflect the seriousness of the offence.

The Royal Court heard on Friday (3 December) that the victim of the accident had been left unable to work and ‘every aspect of his life has been affected’.

When health and safety officers arrived, Mr Salgado at first claimed that he had not been driving the vehicle at the time. CCTV footage of the work yard in St Peter showed that he had.

Mr Salgado then pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety rules.

Crown Advocate Chris Baglin, prosecuting, said that on the morning of the accident, on 5 February this year, Mr Salgado had been using a telehandler – a type of forklift truck – to move around 1.3 tonnes of stone onto the back of a lorry. He had not been trained in how to use the vehicle safely.

The conditions at the site were wet and muddy and Crown Advocate Baglin added that ‘he lost control and moved quickly backwards. Although several employees managed to jump out of the way, the forklift truck hit the victim’.

The victim’s leg was broken in two places, the court heard, with his left leg now 2cm shorter than his right leg. His family have had to move house and he is reliant on incapacity benefit, the court was told.

Advocate Robert Boothman, defending, said Mr Salgado was very remorseful about what happened and added: ‘This is the first time that the company or Mr Salgado have found themselves in this position.’

He said that on the morning of the accident the trained forklift-truck driver did not seem to be at work, and added: ‘Mr Salgado’s understanding was that he wasn’t there, which is why he made the foolish decision to drive it himself.

‘He accepts that the Health and Safety Inspectorate were misled and that this was entirely the wrong thing to do. He was panicking, he was in shock.’

Mr Salgado later entered a guilty plea and the advocate said ‘ultimately he did the right thing’. He asked for a low fine, pointing out: ‘He is the main breadwinner for his family and children. The dividend from the company is extremely important. It is what Mr Salgado and his family live on.’

Delivering the court’s sentence, Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae, presiding, said: ‘The fine should sting, to bring home the severity of the incident. We agree that the culpability of the company is high. It had put in no measures to prevent the accident. This is a very serious offence.’

As well as the £60,000 fine, Mr Salgado was ordered to pay £5,000 towards prosecution costs, and will have to pay at the rate of £5,000 per month.

Jurats Collette Crill and Elizabeth Dulake were sitting

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