Company bosses fined after Wembley student loses his leg

Worker was just 19 when he lost his limb in fork lift truck accident

TWO company directors have been fined �17,000 after a worker lost part of his leg in a fork lift trick accident.

Robert Gilbert, 55, and Christopher Sale, 45, admitted flouting health and safety rules at a branch of Tile Depot Trading Ltd, in Cricklewood Lane, Cricklewood, that resulted in Mitesh Patel losing part of his limb in June 2008.

Mr Patel, who was just 19 at the time, lived in Tudor Court South, Wembley, and had started a summer job at the depot while studying for a business studies degree at the University of Hertfordshire.

Wood Green Crown Court heard Mr Patel was a tile supplier and his main duties were advising customers, heavy lifting, moving tiles and stocking the warehouse.

He was working in the store’s yard and warehouse when a colleague lost control of the fork lift truck he was operating, and pinned Mr Patel’s leg against a gas tank.

His injuries resulted in his right leg being amputated below the knee.

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The ‘driver’ the fork lift had no licence or training in how to operate the machine.

Barnet Council’s Environmental Health Team launched an investigation into the accident resulting in Gilbert and Sale being prosecuted.

The pair, who were both directors at the company which has since gone into administration, admitted failing to provide safe plant and systems of work as well as training and supervision to ensure the health and safety of employees.

They were also ordered to pay a total of �11,500 in court costs.

The store’s manager Hassan Mohammed was acquitted of failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others.

Cllr Melvin Cohen from Barnet Council said: “The tragic consequences of this case highlight just how crucial health and safety at work really is.

“A young man’s life has been irrevocably changed by an accident which was entirely avoidable.

“I hope the fines imposed by the court service send out a strong message to employers about the paramount importance of ensuring the safety of those who work for them.”

Mr Patel received an undisclosed amount of compensation for his injuries in October 2009.