Warwick Crown Court has fined a Cheshire based transport company £500,000 and ordered to pay a further £56,938 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into how an employee suffered extensive injuries when she was crushed between two lorries. Her injuries included broken bones in her back, shoulder and ribs, severe head injuries, punctured lung and damaged eyesight.
The 38 year old women suffered a cardiac arrest and required a ten day hospital stay in an intensive care unit. The employee was confined to a body brace for a period of four months and needed the use of a wheelchair.
The incident occurred in April 2013 and the employee still requires physiotherapy.
The HSE told the court that the woman was assisting a lorry driver by guiding him into a parking space on a slope. The driver decoupled the trailer without braking causing the trailer to move and trap her between two vehicles.
The HSE’s report highlighted that the company frequently allowed large vehicles to park on an incline without the provision of chocks and no checks were made to ensure drivers had engaged the vehicles braking system.
After the case was heard, HSE inspector Elizabeth Hornsby said:
“[The employee] suffered severe life-changing injuries. Her family was told she would not survive the night but due to her level of physical fitness and her sheer determination she has fought back and is now on the road to recovery.
“It was common practice for drivers to park on a slope within the compound, which should never have been allowed as it was inevitable that sooner or later a driver would fail to put on their handbrake. This totally avoidable incident could and should have been prevented with nothing more than common sense.”
Information and guidance on how to manage the risks associated with workplace transport is available at www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/transport.htm