Worker crushed after using inadequate lifting vehicle…
An aggregate company based in Kent has been fined in excess of £180,000 after an employee lost his life in an incident involving the lifting equipment of a tipper lorry.
The 57-year-old accident victim died as he was unloading material from a vehicle at an address in Wittersham on 20 November 2006.
The vehicle involved in the accident was fitted with a small crane and attached bucket that was used to lower bags to the ground. As the man was in the process of unloading the last bag on the lorry, the crane suddenly twirled around and trapped him between the bucket and the tipping mechanism on the vehicle. He died at the scene of the accident.
The subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the equipment used was in poor condition and the system of work to unload material was not up to expected safety standards.
Canterbury Crown Court was told that the accident might have been prevented if safer equipment such as a flatbed lorry and forklift truck had been used. The company had these vehicles available but still allowed their employee to use the tipper lorry.
The company was fined £85,000 with additional prosecution costs of £97,791 after pleading guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
HSE Principal Inspector Mike Walters commented after the hearing:
“The man’s tragic death could and should have been prevented. The lifting equipment on the lorry was badly maintained and simply wasn’t safe for use. It was also unnecessary because the firm had better equipment more suited to the job, which could have been used instead.
“Had the company taken time to properly assess the risks associated with the delivery of bulky bags of hardcore and aggregate, it would have become clear that a safer method of working was necessary and could be used.
“Employers must ensure that they properly maintain lifting equipment, and that they provide their employees with the most suitable and appropriate equipment for the tasks they undertake. They must also ensure that safe systems of work are followed on site during the unloading of goods from vehicles.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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