Latvia

Warehouse cleaner died immediately after being crushed by pallets

Jurors in an inquest have ruled a warehouse worker in Haverhill suffered a “chest crush injury” and died after being struck by falling pallets.

Dzintars Klementjevs, who was originally from Latvia, was killed in the incident at Culina Logistics at Haverhill Business Park on the afternoon of November 22, 2018.

A three-day inquest into the 44-year-old’s death was opened at Suffolk Coroners’ Court on Monday.

The first day of the inquest was told how Mr Klementjevs, a cleaner with Culina Logistics, was operating a ride-on cleaning machine when it collided with a forklift in an aisle with shelving racks of chilled food products.

Colleague Virginijus Galkus, who was operating a VNA (very narrow aisle) forklift on the day of the incident, said it was his vehicle that collided with Mr Klementjevs’ machine.

Speaking with the help of an interpreter, he said: “The truck moved sideways because of the weight and all the pallets started falling down.”


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Mr Galkus said he saw a “large amount” of pallets falling down, adding that he was “in shock”.

Fellow VNA driver Vitalis Bicans told the hearing he called over Mr Klementjevs after an item fell from a vehicle he was driving and spilled on the warehouse floor.

Mr Klementjevs then arrived on the cleaning machine, which Mr Bicans described as “not very large”.

After stepping back briefly, Mr Bicans recalled seeing “everything falling down” from the shelving in the food warehouse.

He said: “When I was moving pallets, one of them was not wrapped and fell on the floor. 

“I was standing waiting for him to finish his work. Then everything came down. I don’t know how it happened.”

Mr Bicans said he saw Mr Klementjevs attempt to jump out of the cleaning machine, which did not have a protective roof.

On Tuesday, paramedic Neil Curry told the court he pronounced Mr Klementjevs dead at the scene as he had no pulse.

The 10 jurors did not hear evidence on Wednesday but returned on Thursday, when they received a summing-up of the inquest from assistant coroner Catherine Wood.

After just over an hour of deliberations, the jury found Mr Klementjevs died immediately from a “chest crush injury” and ruled the death an accident.

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