Hard-working delivery driver crushed to death by a forklift

By Louise Roseingrave

A 33-year-old delivery driver was crushed by a forklift as he walked through a warehouse waiting to load construction materials.

Sergei Piller was originally from Estonia but living at Adamstown in Lucan, suffered catastrophic crush injuries in the incident.

dublin coroners courtThe U Value Insulation employee entered the Knauf warehouse at 87 Broomhill Road in Tallaght to collect construction materials on the morning of March 5 2014.

Warehouse manager Anthony O’Hanlon loaded insulation boards and metal studs onto Mr Piller’s truck before the accident happened.

He said Mr Piller was walking around the truck, trying to help him load materials, but Mr O’Hanlon asked him to stay inside the cab of the truck where it was safer.

He said the pair knew each other for a number of years as Mr Piller regularly collected insulation materials.

Around midday, Mr O’Hanlon placed two pallets of plasterboard onto the forklift to load onto the truck.

“There’s a slight incline as you exit the warehouse and I thought I felt something rubbing or dragging under the forks so I lifted the load higher,” he said.

“I saw Sergei’s head by the front wheels of the forklift truck. I was in disbelief as to how he ended up there. I shouted to him, he was conscious but clutching his side,” Mr O’Hanlon said.

An ambulance was called and Mr Piller was rushed to Tallaght Hospital where he died later that day.

A post-mortem found he had suffered extensive crush injuries and bruising to his neck, back and shoulders, scrapes to his upper and lower limbs, rib fractures and a lung laceration.

The cause of death was traumatic chest injuries due to a crushing incident.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard the incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Authority and by Gardai.

Knauf, the construction materials supplier was convicted of failing to meet obligations under section 12 of the Health and Safety Act, which places an obligation on companies to ensure the safety of non-employees entering a premises.

HSA Inspector Tony O’Sullivan said safety guidelines include insisting drivers stay inside the cab of a truck or the provision of a designated area for visitors.

“Extra people can generate extra risk, especially when interacting with vehicles,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

Deputy Coroner Dr Crona Gallagher offered sympathies to the man’s partner and family.

“He was obviously an experienced driver and a hard-working man. He went out to do a days work and this tragedy occured,” the coroner said.

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