Business Hit Hard After Colleague Death Involving Trailer

| General

In May 2023 the Magistrates Court located in Leeds imposed a criminal conviction and a financial sanction of over one-hundred-and-fifty-thousand pounds due to an incident which had occurred in Darlington whereby a colleague was injured whilst unpacking a  commercial vehicle trailer. The incident did not end well for the colleague as he sustained fatal bodily damage. Underlining the significance of both the circumstances of the incident and the injuries inflicted the regulatory authorities imposed a criminal conviction on the business in connection with health and safety legal violations.   

What Happened In The Case?

At the time the incident took place the member of the workforce was employed by the business and was assisting other colleagues in the moving of a substantial piece of industrial equipment from a trailer to one located near the vehicle of an industrial nature. However, when the colleagues were moving the piece of commercial machinery it appears to have dropped from the industrial vehicle, colliding with the members of the workforce, and the damage which was inflicted upon him was so serious that it caused his immediate demise. 

What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?

Owing to the circumstances of the incident which had occurred in the working environment that particular day it seems to have felt under an obligation to probe into what had taken place when the substantially weighted load tumbled from the wagon which was designed for commercial purposes. When the regulatory authorities did so it discovered evidence which appeared to suggest that when the members of the workforce were in the process of moving the significantly weighted quantity of industrial equipment it had been split up into two sections. In particular, the probe launched by the regulatory authorities focussed on the least-largest section of equipment because this was the part that collided with a member of the workforce whilst it was in the process of being moved onto the second trailer by the colleagues in the vicinity of the working environment. The injuries inflicted later proved to be fatal and he never regained consciousness.    

Feet to the Fire?

The magistrates’ court located in the City of Leeds in the county of Yorkshire held the business to account over what had taken place and put the allegations of failing to act by section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This section places legal duties upon businesses with responsibilities for employing members of the workforce to protect the safety, well-being, and health of colleagues operating under its inherent jurisdiction and persons emanating from the general public. To the credit of the business, it seems to have seen sense and openly admitted to violating the legal requirements at the time the incident took place. To make an example of the business and to deter others from conducting themselves in this manner the Magistrates imposed a financial sanction in an amount just pulling up short of one hundred and sixty thousand pounds.  

Lessons Learned?

To reduce the likelihood of a repeat of such incidents commercial outfits unloading trailers need to be: 
-    ensuring that large quantities of material are tightly fastened to the trailer, not freely moving on the trailer
-    checking trailers are positioned on solid ground with their brakes applied
-    verifying if the quantity shifted its position during its journey to the workplace
-    follow any agreed process when moving the equipment and
-    assessing the risk of material falling.
If you have experienced something similar, or have an opposing viewpoint, please kindly leave a comment on the article or contact us.   
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