Wolverhampton Crown Court has fined a travel company based in Bordesley Green, Birmingham a total of £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £35,119 after being found guilty of breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and a separate offence under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
An assistant mechanic working on a nightshift received crush injuries when he became trapped between two buses. He died in hospital three months later after never regaining consciousness.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection into how the incident occurred has highlighted significant safety failings including lack of training and supervision.
The court heard that the mechanic was attempting to move a bus to gain access to an inspection pit. The reverse gear was not working so with the aid of a colleague he tried to manually move the vehicle into a suitable position. In doing so, the employee inadvertently left the gearbox in drive instead of neutral. The bus was fitted with a safety device which secured the parking brake while the cabin doors were open. However, when the employee left the cabin and shut the door, the bus moved forward trapping him between two buses.
The HSE reported that the firm had not trained their employees in the manual manoeuvring of buses and also permitted this to be done on night shifts. Although the company was able to use a recovery agency to move broken down buses in and out of the depot only supervisory staff had received instructions regarding call out practices.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Eve-Marie Edwards said:
“There was no supervisor on duty to advise [the employee] or to ensure that no attempts were made to move a bus without somebody at the wheel, or advise him to call the recovery agency to move it.”
“The company has since introduced a number of safety measures to prevent a recurrence. It is a pity a young man, who should have had his whole life ahead of him, had to die in what was an avoidable incident for that to happen.”