£1/2 million fine for breaching Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

A transport company has been fined £500,000 after one of its employees suffered horrific injuries after a trailer rolled down a slope crushing her between two vehicles at one of their depots. The woman was helping a lorry driver to reverse park on a slope at the time of the accident. The Crown Court heard that she was lucky to be alive after the driver decoupled his trailer without engaging its parking brake which resulted in it rolling back, trapping her between the two lorries.

The woman’s injuries were numerous and extensive and included a punctured lung, 13 broken bones in her back, shoulders and ribs and a serious head injury. During her 10 days in intensive care, she experienced a tracheotomy, impaired vision and she also suffered a cardiac arrest. Since leaving Hospital she needed to wear a body brace for four months and was confined to a wheelchair. She has regained some mobility but still requires weekly physiotherapy.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the company often allowed heavy vehicles to park on a slope without the provision of chocks or other safety equipment. There were no safety systems in place at the company to check handbrakes were being engaged safely. Also the slope ended on a public road so the risks were substantial, not just to employees, but to the general public.

The company pleaded guilty to two breaches of Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined a total of £500,000. They were also required to pay legal costs of £56,938.

An HSE inspector said: “She… suffered severe life-changing injuries. Her family was told she would not survive the night but due to her level of physical fitness and her sheer determination she has fought back and is now on the road to recovery.

“It was common practice for drivers to park on a slope within the compound, which should never have been allowed as it was inevitable that sooner or later a driver would fail to put on their handbrake. This totally avoidable incident could and should have been prevented with nothing more than common sense.”

 

If you or a loved one received an injury when working with dangerous machinery or heavy goods vehicles then the company may be responsible for not having the appropriate security systems or equipment in place or providing you with the necessary training to do your job safely. Sometimes the type of work you are doing may require a risk assessment.

If you are interested in finding out about whether you can claim compensation for an accident or injury sustained at work call now on 0800 089 4444 for a free no-obligation conversation with our specialist team or complete an enquiry online.