Warwick Crown Court heard that Imperial Commercials Ltd’s failure to provide a safe working environment led to the death of one its employees, Craig Stewart Dunn, in January last year.
Not see … in front of cab
The 44-year old father of three was crushed by the HGV travelling at less than 5km/hour. The lorry driver could not see what was immediately – up to 6m – in front of the cab because the vehicle’s front grill was raised, revealed a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation.
This was not the first time this practice had been used at Imperial Commercials Ltd’s workshop in Loxley Road, Wellesbourne site, the court was told.
Thinking he had struck a stationary vehicle, the HGV driver reversed his vehicle to discover the fatally injured worker.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Mark Austin said: “The tragic, needless loss of Mr Dunn’s life could have been prevented had Imperial Commercials Ltd properly considered the risks from the movement of heavy goods vehicles at this site, and provided effective segregation of pedestrians from moving vehicles.”
No chance of survival
Despite the vehicle’s slow speed, its size and weight left the worker no chance of survival.
“Companies that work with vehicles of all sizes need to ensure that all pedestrians are able to circulate and work safely at their premises, at all times,” said Austin.
Imperial Commercials Limited, registered at Imperial House, High Street High, Wycombe, was fined £166,000, and ordered to pay £46,500 in costs after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to offences under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The HSE highlighted four key points for the safe manoeuvring of vehicles. (See list below). For more advice about operating vehicles safely, visit the HSE website.
HSE advice on safe manoeuvring
- Vehicles should have large enough windscreens (with wipers where necessary) and external mirrors to provide an all-round field of vision.
- Drivers should not place objects where they will impede this vision.
- Assess the risks to the health and safety of using chosen work equipment.
- Where possible, the need for reversing should be eliminated