Transport firm fined £0.5M for ‘horrific injuries’

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

The HSE said nothing more than common sense was needed to prevent the accident
The HSE said nothing more than common sense was needed to prevent the accident

Related tags: Truck

A transport firm has been fined £500,000 for what the Health and Safety Authority (HSE) described as “horrific injuries”, after a worker was crushed between a lorry and its trailer.

The 38-year old female employee was lucky to be alive after the accident at Tip Trailer Services’ Griff Lane depot in Nuneaton, Cheshire, Warwick Crown Court was told on Monday (March 16).

Breaking 13 bones in her back, shoulders and ribs, Jennifer Rose punctured a lung during the accident on April 9 2013. She also suffered severe head injuries, a cardiac arrest, impaired vision and she required a tracheotomy.

The injured worker, who has a young son, spent 10 days in intensive care, was forced to wear a body brace for four months and was confined to a wheelchair for several months. While she has regained some mobility, Rose still needs weekly physiotherapy.

Without engaging parking brake

The accident happened when she was acting as a banksman, helping a lorry driver to reverse park on a slope, according to an HSE investigation. The driver decoupled his trailer without engaging its parking brake, causing it to roll back and trap her between the two vehicles.

TIP Trailer Services regularly allowed vehicles to park on a slope without insisting on the use of chocks or similar security devices, revealed the HSE probe. The firm had no monitoring system to check drivers applied handbrakes correctly.

Not just workers were at risk, said the workplace safety organisation. The slope led to a public road, so pedestrians on site and passing pedestrians and drivers were also at endangered.

HSE probe revealed:

“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.”

Commenting after the hearing, HSE inspector Elizabeth Hornsby said Rose had 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,” ​said Hornsby.

‘Would not survive the night’

“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.”

TIP Europe Ltd, of Market Street, Altrincham, Cheshire, trading as Tip Trailer Services, pleaded guilty to two breaches of Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined a total of £500,000 and ordered to pay a further £56,938 in costs.

Providing a range of services for transportation and logistics customers, TIP Trailer Services operates more than 70 branches in 16 countries.

Meanwhile, HSE advice on managing risks associated with workplace transport is available here​.

Related topics: Supply Chain

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