Unlicensed forklift driver jailed for running over worker

SINGAPORE - A labourer tired of waiting for a forklift driver to load some goods onto a lorry decided to do the job himself but ended up running over another worker.

Foo Kien How, who was not licensed to operate the vehicle, caused injuries that included collapsed lungs and multiple fractures to Mr Yan Zhenying, and stopped the forklift only when he heard other workers shouting.

Foo, a 29-year-old Malaysian, was jailed for two weeks on Monday (June 4) after pleading guilty to causing grievous hurt by performing a negligent act.

The court heard that he had been waiting half an hour for a forklift driver to show up at ST Paper Resources, near Jalan Boon Lay, on the afternoon of Aug 25 last year.

Foo decided to move the goods himself after spotting an unmanned forklift nearby with its key in the ignition.

He was driving it towards his lorry when he ran over 54-year-old Mr Yan, himself a driver, who was squatting in a courtyard.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Charleston Teo said: "The accused did not realise that the forklift had hit the victim and continued moving forward, dragging the victim under the forklift.

"The accused only stopped after he heard shouting from the other workers in the warehouse."

The police and Singapore Civil Defence Force were alerted and Mr Yan was taken to the National University Hospital.

A medical report stated that his injuries included collapsed lungs as well as fractures to his spine, shoulders, right ring finger and right ankle. He was discharged on Sept 18 last year.

DPP Teo said that no one had instructed Foo to operate the forklift at that time.

The prosecutor added: "The accused claimed to have prior experience of driving a forklift when he was in Malaysia and thus decided to operate the unmanned forklift on his own, despite not possessing a Singapore forklift licence."

For causing grievous hurt by performing a negligent act, Foo could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.