Nationwide Platforms has been fined £900,000 after one of its HGV drivers was crushed to death while attempting to move a scissor lift.

Lee Benham died at the powered access equipment firm’s workshop in Liskeard, Cornwall on 4 November 2021 as he operated the scissor lift from the ground to clear an access path and then move machinery pieces onto his lorry.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated the 45-year-old’s death, said the moveable controls on the lift were in a position meaning that their direction was inverted and when Benham operated the machinery, it came towards him and crushed him against a static scissor lift.

The HSE found Nationwide Platforms had failed to sufficiently consider the dangers of operating machinery via moveable controls, and failed to provide appropriate monitoring and supervision during the morning when drivers were loading machinery onto their lorries.

Benham’s wife Kelly Benham said: “Lee was my soulmate, my best friend, my rock. Now I have nothing apart from my girls.

“There are no words that can describe when you have had your heart ripped out. Our lives are in pieces, and it is just the three of us now.”

The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and it was fined £900,000 and ordered to pay £12,045 in costs at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on 21 December.

HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “This was a tragic incident and a stark reminder to businesses to be thorough in their risk assessment. The situation which led to Lee’s death would not have arisen had appropriate control measures been in place.”