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Trailer co allowed scissor lift fatally close to HGV route

Suffolk-based trailer service and breakdown company SPR Trailer Services has been handed a £120,000 penalty for failing to protect an employee who sustained fatal head injuries.


An SPR employee of the defendant was operating a scissor-lift on 23 January 2015 when the mobile platform was hit by a heavy goods vehicle, pitching the employee from the lift basket 1.5 m on to a roadway.

In a report on the inquest into the 67-year-old worker’s death the Ipswich Star said the employee was changing company signs at the entrance to SPR’s main Felixstowe site, near the roadway, when the scissor lift was clipped by a 12 m curtain-sided trailer, tipping it over. The report said the employee was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge but died two days later.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) investigation found that SPR failed to plan and organise the scissor lift’s safe operation. The work should have been carried out away from the area trafficked by other vehicles or outside the hours when they were crossing the site.

SPR Trailer Services of 5 Walton Avenue, Felixstowe, pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Speaking after the case, HSE principal inspector Norman Macritchie said: “The company did not undertake the simple safety measure of segregating those working at height from adjacent workplace transport operations, in line with widely available industry guidance.”



Louis Wustemann is former editor, IOSH Magazine. He was previously editor of Health and Safety at Work magazine and Environment in Business. He has written, edited and consulted on health and safety, environmental and employment matters for more than 25 years.

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