*UPDATE* Recycler’s director sentenced and company fined £500k for fatal telehandler strike
Thursday 19th October 2017
From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
Brighton Magistrates' Court was told on 12 October that United Grab Hire had no adequate segregation measures, such as walkways or crossing points, in areas where pedestrians were likely to be present at its site in Horley, East Sussex.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Russell Beckett told IOSH Magazine that there was "a culture of pedestrians mixing with large vehicles" at the recycling site, where waste from large utilities was processed.
"There was CCTV [footage] of the incident [on 7 July 2016] and we also looked at the 24 hours preceding it. We noted that there were numerous near-misses in terms of pedestrian and vehicle manoeuvres. [Workers] were walking right through the middle of the yard while heavy goods vehicles, shovel loaders and telehandlers were reversing."
The HSE investigation also found that United Grab Hire had not trained the driver of the telehandler to operate the vehicle.
United Grab Hire pleaded guilty to breaching ss 4(1) and 17(1) of the Workplace (Health and Safety Welfare) Regulations. The firm must also pay £5,968 costs.
Director Mark Howard pleaded guilty to breaching s 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was jailed for six months, suspended for two years.
Beckett said there were no aggravating factors. United Grab Hire had co-operated fully with the investigation, had no previous convictions and had put in place improvement measures after the accident. These included segregated walkways, a limit on the number of vehicles entering the site, and a one-way system for vehicles to manoeuvre safely.
Brighton Magistrates’ Court was told on 12 October that United Grab Hire had no adequate pedestrian segregation measures such as walkways or crossing points in areas where pedestrians walked routinely at its Horley, East Sussex site. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that reversing large vehicles near to pedestrians was commonplace at the premises. The investigation into the incident, which took place on 7 July 2016, found that United Grab Hire had not trained the driver of the telehandler to operate the vehicle.
James Hurst, a litter picker for Jack Moody Recycling, was collecting rubbish at the company’s composting site in Redhill, Telford, on 5 December 2014. He was standing next to a brick wall when the driver of a shovel loader drove over him, Shrewsbury Crown Court was told.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the driver was unaware he had struck someone and just thought he had hit the brick wall. He climbed down from the cab to inspect the damage and found Hurst badly injured on the floor.
On 26 April 2016, a delivery driver had arrived at Savanna Rags International’s site in Nottinghamshire. He drove off a weighbridge and reversed towards the rear yard when he struck an employee. Mansfield Magistrates’ Court was told that the injured worker, who was on foot, had crossed over the weighbridge and was walking towards the smoking shelter when the accident happened. She sustained fatal injuries.
Explore Manufacturing, which prefabricates concrete components for the construction industry, was fined £2m. Select Plant Hire, a supplier of transport pallets, was fined £1.8m.Nottingham Crown Court was told on 16 October that Explore employee Richard Reddish was working in a mobile elevating working platform (MEWP) in the finishing area of the company’s Worksop factory when the accident happened on 8 July 2014.
On 19 October 2015 Samuel Evans, managing director of S. Evans and Sons, was lifting steel girders using a rotator shear attached to an excavator – plant typically used to cut up materials during demolition, Liverpool Crown Court was told. Employee David Whitfield, 63, was assisting Evans with the job. He walked underneath a suspended girder to position some wooden blocks well it fell on him.
Developed with the State Claims Agency, the “Work Positive” tool can be used to carry out confidential psychosocial risk assessments. It has been designed to help employers assess workplace stressors, employee psychological wellbeing and critical incident exposure in the workplace. Intended to cover whole workforces, the HSA said the stress assessment can be carried out over three to six months and be re-used every few years.