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MANAGING WORKPLACE TRANSPORT

Management and maintenance failures fined £400k following death

Site transport is a significant hazard on major construction sites and the recent prosecution of a major bus company has lessons for all.

The company has been fined £400k after an employee died when crushed between two vehicles at a garage in Uxbridge, nr London.

Centrewest London Buses Ltd were prosecuted for safety failings leading up to the incident on 18 May 2004. Costs are to be determined at a separate hearing.

HSE investigation showed that traffic management at the garage was poor. The garage was designed to hold 65 buses but at the time of the death it was the base for 119 vehicles. The garage was not well lit and drivers carrying out checks were forced to walk between closely parked buses that were manoeuvring to leave the garage.

The bus that struck the workman had a defective gear selector that may have meant it was in a different gear to that indicated in the driver’s cab. Checks carried out on similar buses after the death revealed that four others based at Uxbridge had similar problems.

A check at the company’s other garages in London showed that 10 out of 60 buses were significantly faulty and a further 30 per cent suffered from more minor faults.

HSE inspector, Bill Hazleton said: “The company’s traffic management system was poor and its processes for maintaining vehicles and for identifying and repairing defects were inadequate.”

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