A Bedfordshire haulage contractor has been sentenced for safety failings after a driver suffered serious injuries when he was catapulted from a powered access platform as he was unloading it from a heavy goods vehicle.
The driver was employed by RC Robinson Haulage Ltd, which had been contracted by a platform hire company to transport the seven ton piece of plant.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard on 10 June that the driver was delivering the plant to the Israeli Embassy in Palace Green, London, when the incident occurred on 7 April 2014.
The driver got into the extendable cage attached to the plant, used its controls to move himself higher and drove it off the low loader. The plant slipped on wet metal ramps and landed on the grass verge narrowly missing a member of the public. The driver was thrown onto the pavement and suffered a number of severe injuries, including a broken pelvis and multiple broken ribs.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found that the correct loading and unloading procedure had not been followed. The driver should have used the low loader’s winch to lower the plant off the trailer.
The court heard that the driver had not received adequate training to load and unload powered access platforms from vehicles. While other drivers at the firm received in-house training, this driver was missed.
RC Robinson Haulage Ltd of The Ridgeway Business Park, The Ridgeway, Blunham, Bedfordshire, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £782 and a Victim Surcharge of £120 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the case, HSE Inspector Zameer Bhunnoo, said:
“This was a serious accident which could have resulted in the fatality of the driver or passing members of the public.”
“Had adequate training been provided, the incident would not have happened. Haulage drivers usually work on their own and need to be able to rely upon their skills to carry out work safely. A key part to managing risks for firms is to make sure drivers are competent before they leave the gates of their depot.”
Notes to Editors
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
- HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press