More than a tonne of render material fell from back of lorry onto company director…
A director of a plastering company has died after a pallet holding more than a tonne of render collapsed onto him at a factory in Devon.
The 37-year-old accident victim was killed after being struck by the massive load during a lorry delivery on 31 March 2009 at Yelverton Business Park near Plymouth.
The subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the tragedy found that the delivery should have arrived at a construction site near the business park and that a forklift truck or telehandler should have been used in the offloading process. However on this occassion the driver didn’t go to that site because there were some restrictions preventing access there. A lack of mechanical handling equipment meant the driver was forced to complete the process of delivering the load manually using a pallet truck in conjunction with the tail lift on his vehicle.
Plymouth Crown Court was told that the accident occurred when the lorry driver was unable to safely maintain the transportation of the load and lost control of the material causing it to fall from the rear of his vehicle and crush the director who was standing in that area. He suffered severe head injuries in the accident and was rushed to a local hospital but died later that day.
The plastering company was fined £22,000 in addition to prosecution costs of £30,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
HSE Inspector Jo Fitzgerald commented after the hearing had concluded:
“This was a tragic incident and it illustrates the significant risks involved in delivery operations. Thinking through those risks in a structured way helps delivery firms identify what could go wrong and improve safety.
“While HSE does not say that the company’s failings caused the man’s death, by failing to assess the risks properly the company did not have a number of important steps in place, which would have made their operation safer. They did not have a clear, consistent system for drivers to follow for using tail lifts, the tail lifts on their vehicles had not had the thorough examinations required by law and they did not have a proper system for inspecting their pallet trucks.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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