The manager – Graham Robinson – was knocked down in the yard of The Haulage (Holdings) Organisation Ltd the transport arm of the Omega Proteins, at the firm’s Quarry Garage, Stainton, near Penrith, Cumbria on April 30 2014.
Walking to the car park, Robinson would normally have taken a route alongside the yard to avoid maneuvering heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). But this route was blocked by both a shallow trench and a parked HGV.
No alternative route was provided
The trench – dug in order to repair a diesel pipe – had been marked with cones with tape strung between them. It blocked the normal pedestrian route and no alternative route was provided by the firm.
Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard the manager was trapped beneath the vehicle’s fuel tank. Colleagues were forced to lift the HGV using a JCB to free him. Robinson suffered two broken toes, a tendon in one foot was stretched and his legs were heavily bruised.
An HSE investigation revealed while the trench was the immediate cause of the accident, there was no effective separation of pedestrian and vehicle areas and routes in the busy haulage yard.
‘Impact on his daily life’
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Matthew Tinsley said the accident could easily have proved fatal. “As it is, Mr Robinson is still experiencing lingering difficulties with one ankle and both knees that impact on his daily life and he may require surgery,” said Tinsley.
“The accident could have been prevented if the company had taken simple steps [such as installing railings and marked pedestrian crossings] to keep pedestrians and vehicles apart in the yard, as they did after the accident.”
The Haulage (Holdings) Organisation Limited of Swalesmoor Farm, Halifax, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc and was fined £20,000, with costs of £1,878.50.
Meanwhile, the latest HSE advice on avoiding transport related accidents in the workplace is available here.