Carlisle Crown Court heard how Richard Brown, an agency driver, was delivering kitchen worktops to a Howden site in Workington when he was crushed to death as a forklift truck overturned unloading lifting kitchen worktops from the trailer of his HGV.
An investigation into the incident, which took place on 10th November 2014, found that the forklift had been overloaded and that visiting delivery drivers were not kept at a safe distance from the loading and unloading operations.
Howden Joinery Ltd of Portman Square, London pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. As well as the £1.2m fine, it was ordered to pay costs of £33,902.
HSE inspector Steven Boyd said after the hearing: “Standing too close to where loading or unloading work is being carried out can put people in harm’s way so people, such as delivery drivers, should be in a position of safety when forklift trucks are operating.
“This tragic incident could have been avoided if Howden Joinery Ltd had implemented a safe procedure to ensure that pedestrians were kept at a safe distance during loading and unloading work.”