An Aberdeen worker who died instantly when he was struck by a forklift may have been distracted by his mobile phone, a Fatal Accident Inquiry has concluded.
Daniel Bagrowski, 30, suffered “multiple instantaneously fatal injuries” at a waste recycling facility in the Nigg area of the city on October 3 2016.
An FAI into Mr Bagrowski’s death heard that the married father-of-two “was not paying sufficient attention” when he turned his back on an approaching forklift truck.
In his determination, Sheriff Ian Wallace said: “The most likely explanation for Mr Bagrowski not paying sufficient attention was that he was distracted by his mobile telephone.”
“The use of mobile telephones was prohibited on site,” he added.
The driver took no evasive action
The forklift driver did not see the pedestrian in his path so he took no evasive action, the inquiry heard.
Sheriff Wallace noted that the driver’s visibility was “partially obscured by the masts and attachments on the front of the forklift” and “further partially obscured by the empty container he was carrying on the front of his forklift”.
He said: “There remains some uncertainty in the conclusion that the cause of Mr Bagrowski’s distraction was his mobile telephone.
“A rule that all employees hand in their mobile telephone on entry to site may be reasonable in the circumstances.
“However, such a rule may not prevent a senior employee having his mobile telephone with him, in the absence of unreasonably intrusive measures.”
At the time of his death, Mr Bagrowski was working as the site supervisor and banksman, and was responsible for directing the vehicles at EIS Waste Services Ltd.
The tragedy was captured on CCTV cameras from both the Gallowhill site itself and a skip lorry parked in the holding area.
Mr Bagrowski’s movements were studied, although the sheriff found that the video was “not perfectly clear” and the footage was “at times jerky”.
Only one witness, the transport director with EIS, gave evidence to the FAI. He spoke of the immediate aftermath of the accident.
But no statement was made available from the forklift driver, whose whereabouts were unknown.
He had left the company shortly after the collision to which there were no other eyewitnesses.
Precaution could have avoided death
The FAI found there were good systems in place to limit the risk of vehicles striking pedestrians, such as walkways, crossing points, and so-called safe havens.
But Sheriff Wallace suggested a precaution which could “reasonably have been taken and might realistically have resulted in this tragic accident and death being avoided” was a requirement for forklift drivers to wait to be directed through the yard.
He said: “The absence of this procedure was a defect in the system of working then in place which contributed to the death.
“I am satisfied, however, that this was a defect in otherwise good safety procedures,” he said.
‘Committed family man’
The FAI described Daniel Bagrowski as a “valued employee” and a “committed family man”.
Sheriff Wallace added: “I would like to conclude this determination by expressing my condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.
“They will all have been greatly affected by his tragic death.”
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