Page last updated at 11:50 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 12:50 UK

Raleigh fined over worker death at Nottingham depot

Bicycle company Raleigh has been fined £72,000 after the death of a forklift truck driver at its Nottingham depot.

John Whittington, 59, of Wollaton, was hit by a falling girder when part of his forklift truck struck a door frame at the Eastwood site in September 2007.

At an earlier hearing at Nottingham Crown Court the firm admitted failing to ensure his health and safety.

Raleigh was ordered to pay £40,000 in court costs. An inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death in 2008.

The inquest was told Mr Whittington was driving the truck with the forks in a raised position when he hit the doorway, knocking down girders and rubble.

Although no-one saw the accident, it was thought the fork lift driver took a pallet of bags to a storage rack and forgot to lower the mast as he returned for another load, the inquest heard.

Changed plea

He died from his injuries after being airlifted to the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Raleigh, which was founded in Nottingham 120 years ago, had earlier denied a charge of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees and another of failing to carry out a sufficient risk assessment.

But following legal submissions the company changed its pleas to guilty.

In sentencing, Judge John Milmo said Raleigh had been prosecuted for its failure to provide a safe workplace and not for causing the death of one of its workers.

The judge said it would never be known why Mr Whittington had disregarded instructions to lower his truck's forks or why had approached the door at speed.

Jon Cooper, defending, said: "The company has been trading since 1887.

"It is their first conviction of this kind and that underlines their commitment to safety in the workplace."

The court heard that Raleigh has introduced a number of safety measures to ensure a similar incident could not happen in future.

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