The accident on 9 August 2017 occurred when a safety interlock failed, allowing the driver to come into contact with the truck-mounted auger conveyor – a rotating mechanism used to move semi-solid materials – while he was delivering wheat to a farm in Ripon, North Yorkshire.
H Walton pleaded guilty to breaching reg 11(3)(c) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. It was fined £200,000 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court plus £531 costs.
The court was told that the driver climbed out of his cab and walked to the rear of the trailer, where the tailgate was open and the auger was emptying wheat on to the floor of a grain storage shed. He lost his footing and put his hand out to steady himself, but he touched the auger and his left arm was drawn in.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a “crucial” interlocking device was not functioning, which meant the auger was able to operate while the rear door of the trailer was open. The emergency stop device for the grain discharge mechanism also failed to function, as it was operated through the same circuitry.
HSE inspector Julian Franklin said: “The driver’s injuries are life changing. The trailer was fitted with a safety system to prevent exactly this type of incident; it could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out regular checks to ensure safety devices and systems remain working. This is something that many hauliers already do as part of their vehicle checks.”