Sheffield Crown Court was told on 13 November that R Plevin & Sons had failed to carry out an adequate assessment for sheeting and unsheeting trailers at the site in Hazlehead. No automatic sheeting was used and workers, including the deceased, Paul Littlewood, were exposed to fall risk.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the only measure to prevent access to the platform attached to the front of the “walking floor” trailer unit was a wire rope, which was normally fasted to a post on the platform with a carabiner and was hanging loose when the incident happened on 30 June 2014.
R Plevin & Sons, of Mossley, Ashton Under Lyme, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to breaching s 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and reg 3 (1) of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was also ordered to pay £31,266 in costs.
After the hearing HSE inspector Tim Johnson said: “The incident could have easily been prevented by providing either automatic sheeting or self-closing gates similar to those at the access point on mobile elevated work platforms, coupled with a double guard rail along the length of the platform.
“It is a requirement to carry out suitable planning for significant risks such as working at height. The sheeting and un-sheeting of lorry trailers is clearing working at height and the company should have identified the risks and control measures necessary to prevent this fatal accident.”