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Employers whose workers suffer injury due to health and safety breaches can face a double whammy of criminal and civil liabilities. Exactly that happened in one case in which a delivery driver had to have a leg amputated after he was hit by a forklift truck.
The worker had been loading his van when the truck reversed into him. He was airlifted to hospital but lost his left leg below the knee. The delivery firm for which he worked was subsequently prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive and was fined £120,000 after pleading guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Lawyers instructed by the worker also launched a civil claim against the firm on his behalf, seeking over £300,000 in damages. Previously a fit and healthy man, he was traumatised by the accident and will require prostheses, other aids and appliances, adaptations to his home and various therapies. Although the amount of his compensation remains to be assessed, documents lodged at the High Court reveal that the company has admitted primary liability for the accident.