A vehicle recovery firm in Hull has been prosecuted after a mechanic suffered a serious back injury when a seven-tonne lorry fell from a jack and trapped him underneath.
The 22-year-old Hull worker fractured two vertebrae in the incident at ABR Rescue Ltd’s workshop in Grindell Street on 1 June 2012. He was unable to return to work for three months.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated, told Hull Magistrates today (17 Jan) that the firm had badly neglected the safety of its employees. It had failed to provide safe working methods and not addressed the very real risks of harm associated with working underneath vehicles.
The court was told the mechanic was fitting a brake chamber to the large goods vehicle (LGV). Its rear nearside wheels had been taken off and the vehicle was being supported by a single hydraulic jack – which itself was standing on a block of wood.
Another employee was working in the lorry’s cab and when he started the engine, the LGV rolled off or fell from the jack, trapping the mechanic underneath.
HSE said the LGV should have been supported using axle stands, and the remaining wheels should have been chocked to prevent it from rolling.
ABR Rescue Ltd of Grindell Street, Hull, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,760 after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the case, HSE Inspector Dr Nicholas Tosney said:
“This young mechanic was working underneath an inadequately supported and unchocked LGV whilst another employee was working in the cab. Jacks are for lifting, not support, and in these circumstances it was entirely foreseeable that when the engine was started the vehicle would fall.
“Because ABR Rescue had not looked properly at the risks of the job, they had not identified the measures needed to control those risks. However, the precautions that should be taken are well-known in the industry and if the company had fulfilled its duty of care, then a young worker would have been spared a serious injury.”
Information and advice on working safely with vehicles can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/mvr/index.htm
Notes to Editors:
- The Health and Safety Executive 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.”