A 42-year-old HGV driver from Leeds suffered life changing injuries after an incident involving a lorry and a connecting trailer at a Dunstable depot.
The employee was attaching a trailer to a HGV vehicle during an early morning shift. The driver parked the vehicle on an incline, left the engine running and left the cab to complete the connection. On releasing the trailer brakes the vehicle moved forward. In an attempt to run and enter the cab, the driver fell and was run over.
The employee sustained significant life changing injuries including a fractured pelvis and post -traumatic stress disorder. He is unable to drive and has not worked since the incident in September 2012.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the company had failed to adequately assess the risks associated with parking on a sloping road and therefore had not made provision for basic safety equipment such as chocks and brake alarms.
The HSE prosecuted the company at the Old Bailey and the court fined a total of £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,698 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
After the case was heard HSE Inspector Emma Page said:
“This was a horrific and entirely preventable injury caused by the failure of the company to recognise all hazards arising from routine operations at their depot and their duty to protect the people working there.
“The risk of large goods vehicles moving when parked on sloping ground when the brakes of the trailer are disengaged is foreseeable and referred to in a number of HSE publications. There was therefore no excuse for such a big employer working routinely with vehicles to ignore this risk.”
For more information and guidance about workplace transport visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/index.htm