Firm had no plan in place to segregate vehicles and pedestrians at washing area…
An Aberdeenshire haulage firm has been prosecuted after one of their employees was seriously injured after being hit by a tractor at the company premises.
The accident victim was a 43-year-old driver who was in the process of cleaning his vehicle at a special wash bay area on 12 November 2010 when a colleague of his climbed into the cab of his tractor and started the engine and pulled out of the wash bay. As the vehicle exited the wash bay area it hit the accident victim who was talking with another employee at the time. The vehicle proceeded to run over the right foot and leg of the man.
After some colleagues alerted the driver of the tractor he reversed off the body of the accident victim who had sustained serious injuries due to the collision. He had to have some soft tissue removed from his leg and broke bones in his foot, fractured his pelvis and cracked some ribs. He had to be treated for his injuries for a total of 13 weeks in hospital and had a metal plate inserted into his pelvis and a skin graft on his leg. He has since been able to return to work but still has permanent scarring, bad circulation, numbness and pain as a result of the incident.
The subsequent HSE investigation into the accident discovered that the specific safety protocols related to driver safety had not been implement at the company. The court was told that there was no specific plan in place to control vehicle movements at the yard and as a result pedestrians and vehicles were not safely segregated.
The haulage company was fined £20,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
HSE Inspector Joanne Nicholls spoke after the hearing:
“The accident victim suffered serious, life-changing injuries in an incident that could easily have been avoided.
“The risks associated with workplace transport are well known and the company should have carried out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to identify appropriate safety measures.
“A safe system of work would have ensured that if pedestrians were present, vehicles would not be allowed to enter or move in the same area. Other measures could have included specific pedestrian zones, stop boards in front of lorries and a key safe system.
“As no such measures had been identified or implemented, two men’s lives were needlessly put at risk.”
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