HGV crushes worker to death

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HGV crushes worker to death

A  company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that the driver involved had not received training on coupling lorries, and did not normally drive articulated vehicles and there was no written procedure or safe systems of work laid out for this work.

The driver had been working at the site at the weekend, and had been asked to line up the trailers in the company’s small yard so they could be used for deliveries and pick-ups. When the driver released the brakes on the trailer, it began to roll forwards on the sloping yard. He ran down the side of the trailer, in front on the cab and attempted to jump into the open door but the HGV struck another vehicle in the yard, crushing him between the door and cab frame, although colleagues tried to rescue him before the emergency services arrived, but  sadly he died at the scene. The investigation found there was not a safe system of work for the coupling and uncoupling of vehicles, and that the handbrake in the cab had not been applied. Although the company had prepared a general risk assessment in May 2010, it did not deal with the task of connecting cabs to trailers, or identify the risk of runaway vehicles.

This case highlights the need for transport companies to ensure their employees have the correct training. They should also act on advice from health and safety experts and make sure safe systems of work are in place.“If the driver had pulled the park button on the trailer when it started to move then it would have activated the trailer brakes. However there is no evidence to prove that he had received training on coupling the HGVs, so may well not have known this.”

The company was fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £67,500 in prosecution costs after being found guilty of a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The morale of this story as a company is to ensure you have complied with your legal obligations to ensure your staff have had the correct training and information, in order for them to complete their daily tasks and just as importantly to document this training has been undertook.

As a driver your responsibilities are to comply with all instructions and training you have had, in order to use your work equipment, ie. your vehicle and not to misuse equipment or use equipment you have had NO training or instruction for.

Accessible Ltd are available to advice on a consultancy basis should you or your organisation feels they require more support.

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