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An Essex construction company which was fined for putting employees in danger could be open to compensation claims by staff.
Basildon Magistrates Court heard that a forklift truck used by Aveley Construction was used continuously by staff for more than a year after it was overdue an inspection.
Even though it is illegal for companies to force employees to use machinery which hasn't been inspected for faults, Aveley Construction still made staff carry on working with the potentially faulty equipment - something that put lives at risk.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said that even though the forklift truck was in a very poor condition it was still used to move heavy steel fabrications on a regular basis, which risked the safety of employees either near to, or driving the machine.
When the machine was eventually inspected only 6 out of 24 benchmark inspections were marked as "satisfactory", with the remaining 18 showing that repair was needed - with defects including a loose counterweight, worn out tyres, faulty lights and a flashing beacon which didn't work.
Aveley Construction was fined £3,000 and told to pay £3,238 in costs at Basildon Magistrates Court after admitting single health and safety breaches.
HSE inspector Keith Waller said: "All machinery must be maintained regularly to ensure it is safe to work with and be near. It is not enough to rely on reactive maintenance and only fix things when they go wrong; companies should be looking for signs of wear and tear before any deterioration leads to an incident."
Mr Waller went on to say that the faults were so serious that "those in the vicinity of the truck [where] at risk of being seriously injured or even killed".
In instances where employees are injured after not receiving safe, inspected equipment, they are entitled to launch a claim of negligence against their employers who may have to pay out a large amount of money to cover for physical or emotional distress.
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