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Director Lied About Forklift Incident Leaving Driver Paralysed 

A driver at Dickies Pet Centre in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, has sustained fractures to his neck vertebrae resulting in needing permanent 24-hour care due to being paralysed form the neck down. This was due to his workplace misleading their insurer about the suitability of their forklift.

On 25th June 2018, a driver was unloading a 800kg load of pet bedding as seen in the image using a forklift truck provided by this Dickies Pet Centre which when loading the lifting forks were too close together. This meant when he went to manoeuvre the truck with the forks still raised, the 800kg load fell from the 2.5 metre height onto the lorry driver resulting in his life changing injuries.

Richard Ellwood, owner of Dickies Pet Centre in King’s Lynn, Norfolk took an early guilty plea and was given a reduced fine and sentence because of this his company only suffered a fine of £115,000 with a 12 month Community Order with 200-hour unpaid work requirement following the incident. Ellwood was also ordered to pay an excess of £70,000 for investigations fees which could’ve been avoided said the judge if all information given had been accurate.

‘Businesses using specialist equipment to handle goods, such as forklift trucks, should always ensure they observe safety warnings in manufacturer’s manuals and keep staff properly refresher-trained” said West Norfolk Borough Council, in light of the situation.

The offence Ellwood (Dickies Pet Centre) pleaded  guilty for were sections 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act failing to fulfil section 3(1) of the act to ensure employees were not exposed to risk by the way the business was ran. Alongside this he was charged with 37 (1) of the act for consented the company’s offence.

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