Friday, 19 December 2014

Complete Utilities Ltd fined £107,000 after lorry driver crushed between container and vehicle

Gloucester-based Complete Utilities Ltd was fined £107,000 (inc. costs) after an employee died from being crushed between a vehicle and container during a loading operation.
The circumstances were:
  • On 24 October 2012 Spencer Powles was at the company's yard with his lorry to collect a road saw.
  • There was no system of work for lifting such items.
  • The site was disorganised and chaotic with no measures to organise traffic or safely separate vehicles and pedestrians on site.
  • The operator of a telehandler was attempting to position its front carriage above the road saw, with the intention of lifting it onto Mr Powles’ lorry.
  • The operator of the telehandler had not received proper training from a qualified instructor.
  • In addition, the telehandler was poorly maintained, though this was not a contributory factor.
  • The operator braked suddenly when he saw Mr Powles appear by the saw. 
  • This caused the vehicle to lurch forward, trapping Mr Powles between the carriage of the telehandler and the container.
  • Mr Powles suffered severe injuries to his abdomen and was airlifted to hospital in Bristol, where he died 10 days later.

The HSE inspector said:
“This terrible incident could have been avoided and Mr Powles would still be here today if Complete Utilities had provided proper training to staff in the operation of this telehandler. It is not acceptable to put drivers into vehicles that they have not previously operated, or without the necessary training by a qualified and competent instructor. Workplace transport is the second biggest cause of fatal and major incidents in the workplace. Employers must ensure that all drivers are properly trained by qualified, competent instructors for the vehicles they are operating. Site vehicle movements need to be controlled and arrangements put in place to segregate vehicles and pedestrians.”

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