A HEALTH and safety inspector had concerns over the parking brake on a forklift truck involved in the death of a man at work.

Brian Tuddenham, 57, of Brampton, died in an incident with a forklift truck at the International Rubber and Tyre Recycling (IRTR) Ltd in Carlisle on February 3, 2021.

On day three of the inquest being held into his death at Cumbria House in Carlisle, jurors heard that preliminary testing was carried out on the 4.6 tonne forklift truck on February 16, 2021.

Frances Ellis, an inspector in health and safety with the Health and Safety Executive, said she found the steering and the foot brake were effective but she had concerns about the park brake.

She said a test operator was able to drive through the park brake ‘quite easily’ while the vehicle was on ‘a bit of an incline’ and the brake ‘wasn’t holding the vehicle as well as she was expecting it to’.

Ms Ellis told the inquest: “I came away with two concerns – the effectiveness of the park brake and being unsure if the vehicle had any sort of drive inhibiting device.”

Further testing on the forklift truck, which had been manufactured by Toyota in 2002, was then carried out by Dane Wolford, a mechanical engineer with the HSE.

He told the inquest: “The handbrake lever was somewhat loose. That gave me the feeling it wasn’t behaving how it should be.”

Mr Wolford carried out three performance tests before he discovered a broken parking cable on May 5, 2021.

He said: “I had a look underneath to see if there was any damage. I saw a parking brake cable hanging underneath.”

Ms Ellis described how the vehicle was ‘unpredictable’ when tested in warmed conditions.

She said: “There were times we didn’t expect the vehicle to move. The park brake was on and it did move on a number of occasions. It did become quite unpredictable, the warmer the engine got.”

The inquest continues.