Leeds fork lift driver tragedy family in safety plea

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The family of a fork lift truck driver, who died from horrific injuries at work, are calling for employers to ensure that health and safety guidelines are properly enforced.

John Foster, 47, who worked as a fork lift truck driver at Mercado, in Cross Green, died after he was crushed in a carpet cutting machine in January 2009.

An inquest heard the large automated carpet cutting machine, which Mr Foster was cleaning, was switched on and a sensor was activated causing a large cradle to crush him.

The court heard Mr Foster was taken to Leeds General Infirmary and underwent five surgical procedures.

He died almost a week following the incident.

Assistant Coroner for West Yorkshire Melanie Williamson, assisted by the jury, concluded that Mercado had ignored previous complaints and incidents and had failed to act to ensure good health and safety practice or train staff adequately.

Mr Foster’s widow Linda said following the inquest: “We have been left completely devastated by John’s death.

“We believe if the proper safety guidelines had been followed, John would still be with us today.

“It has taken almost six years to get to this point and a five week inquest into his death to understand how and why John died.”

The heartbroken widow added: “As a family, we want to move on, but we want to make sure that incidents like this do not happen again.”

Ian Bailey, a specialist workplace accident lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, representing the family, said: “This has been an incredibly difficult time for the family.

“They have been left completely heartbroken by their loss as John died from horrendous injuries.

“Employees have a right to go to work and to expect to come home safely at the end of their working day.

“Only by employers living up to their legal obligations in all respects can this be the case and future tragic deaths be prevented.”