Was Teenage Apprentice Crushed To Death By Forklift Truck Because Firm Cut Corners?

14/08/2014 16:50 | Updated 22 May 2015

Was teenage apprentice crushed to death by forklift truck because firm cut corners?

A teenage apprentice was killed after being crushed against a wall by a forklift truck just two days before his 18th birthday.

Niall Page, 17, died of a cardiac arrest caused by internal bleeding after the warehouse incident in February 2011.

An inquest heard that tragedy struck when Niall - who had been in the job for just five months - was crushed against a wall at floor level after jumping into a bay.

He was rushed to hospital where his mother Janet Page works a nurse but died several hours later.

The accident occurred after workers at Pioneer International Logistics in Trafford Park, Manchester were encouraged by senior staff to 'cut corners' by jumping on the pallets and being raised up to scan in items stored on shelves.

The inquest also heard how, on earlier occasions, the youngster, from Irlam in Salford, Greater Manchester, would be raised up while stood on wooden pallets - only for driver James Renton to use the truck's gears to shake the teenager around.

He was seen by and filmed by another colleague shouting 'stop, stop, stop' as he tried to keep his balance while 25-year old Mr Renton was laughing in the driver's seat.

As the family sat at the hospital, Mr Renton turned up with his head bowed and confessed: "We have all picked up bad habits. I didn't see him - I just hit him."

Mrs Page, 45, told the hearing at Sale: "I was concerned about Niall working there in the first place and I didn't think he had the support in the first place that he should have done.

"He was to be an apprentice and have a mentor. He was doing five days and meant to be doing 9-5pm but when he left at 5pm they said he had to work 9-6pm. I felt like he was being exploited.

"When I said leave the job he declined. He said he wanted to work."

Fellow apprentice Luke Tabner, 19, told the inquest: "You have the official rules then the work's. That is the way it is run.

"There was a lot of time pressure to get the work done quickly. They should have been watching us more as apprentices. They should have been supervising us more than they did.

"Because we were apprentices we were the ones that would do everything. We wouldn't think about it, we would just do it."

Co-worker Stephen Holland, 29, also attacked the firm, claiming he and Mr Trabner were laid off for complaining to the Health and Safety Executive.

He told the jury: "I think it was just an excuse because me and Luke knew too much about what happened. They said 'keep quiet, don't tell the police, don't talk to the family'."

A lawyer representing Pioneer Logistics Ltd said bosses would deny the claims when they give evidence on the second day of the inquest.


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