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Worker narrowly escapes death

Tom Wall20/11/2013 - 13:00

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Risk assessments were 'unsuitable'
Risk assessments were 'unsuitable'

A haulage business has been fined £80,000 after a worker nearly died when he was crushed between an HGV tractor unit and a trailer.

Offsite trailer fitter Paul Major was writing the next inspection date on a trailer when an HGV driver reversed at the William West Distribution Ltd distribution site in Derbyshire. Mr Major was struck in the back and crushed. He was taken by ambulance with suspected life-threatening injuries.

Doctors found he had suffered several broken ribs and bleeding on his right lung.

Matthew Salmon, an EHO from Amber Valley Borough Council, found widespread health and safety failings by William West & Sons (Ilkeston) Ltd and its sister company William West Distribution Ltd had contributed towards the accident.

There was not a safe system of work for the manoeuvring of vehicles. Existing risk assessments for the distribution site and trailer fitters were unsuitable and insufficient. Pedestrian and vehicle segregation and site rules were not being implemented effectively.

The investigation also established that William West Distribution Ltd had previously been prosecuted by a neighbouring authority (Erewash Borough Council) in 2009 following a forklift truck accident.

William West & Sons (Ilkeston) Ltd admitted 2 offences of failing to ensure the safety of their employees and failing to ensure the safety of persons not in their employment this month at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates court. The company was fined £20,000 for each offence and ordered to pay £3,419 in costs.

William West Distribution Ltd, admitted to two separate offences of failing to ensure the safety of persons not in their employment and failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. The sister company was fined £20,000 for each offence and also ordered to pay £3,419 in costs.

Steve Hayes, Amber Valley Borough Council’s cabinet member for healthier places to live, said: ‘The prosecution demonstrates the council’s focus on high risk work activities in order to protect public safety. It was very fortunate that this accident did not result in a fatality and the magistrates recognised this in their comments and the level of fine imposed.’

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