The driver aged-51, from St Ives, Cambridgeshire, who asked to remain anonymous, was crushed while closing the rear doors of his lorry when another lorry reversed into him. The accident took place at a transport yard in Sandy, Bedfordshire.
Unable to work again, the driver suffered life-changing injuries. In addition to paralysis, he suffered a brain injury, which has affected his sight and has lost most of the use of his arms.
His employer H & M Distribution Ltd and, owner of the yard, H E Payne Transport Ltd were prosecuted after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The court was told the driver parked his loaded HGV near the loading bay to close its rear doors before setting out on a delivery.
Crushing him between two vehicles
While closing the doors, a curtain-sided lorry reversed into the driver, crushing him between the two vehicles.
Despite both firms being road hauliers, there was no documented procedure for vehicle movements in the transport yard, the HSE investigation revealed. Each firm received an improvement notice requiring them to organise movements in the yard so pedestrians and vehicles could move around safely. This was later put in place.
Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Emma Rowlands said: “This was a horrific and entirely preventable injury caused by the shared failure of both companies to recognise the hazards arising from loading operations at the transport yard and their duty to protect the people working there.
‘Dangerous lack of segregation’
“Our investigation found that there was no documented procedure which allowed workplace transport and pedestrians to circulate the site in safety, and a dangerous lack of segregation between vehicles and workers on foot. Tragically, as a result an employee is now paralysed for life.”
H & M Distribution Ltd of Sankey Valley Industrial Estate, Newton-le-Willows, was fined a total of £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,996 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
H E Payne Transport Ltd of The Lane, Wyboston, Bedfordshire, was fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,996 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Free HSE advice on workplace transport is available here.