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WORKMAN DIED WHEN LOAD FELL DURING UNLOADING

Steel gates fell from lorry during confusion over required system of work

Mackay Steelwork and Cladding Ltd and James Paterson Haulage Ltd have been prosecuted after a lorry driver died when he was struck by steel gates falling from his vehicle.

Andrew Brown, aged 58, was in an area close to the side of his lorry as the gates were being unloaded. He was struck by two of the gates weighing 153kgs at Simpsons Garden Centre in Inverness in August 2008.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard how Mr Brown collected some 20 steel safety gates and drove to the garden centre. He removed the securing straps from the load and assisted the forklift truck driver to ensure the forks were positioned correctly. Four gates fell from the vehicle causing a fatal neck injury.

Liaison and information insufficient to secure safety 

James Paterson Haulage Ltd, the employer, pleaded guilty to breaching HSW Act Section 2(1) and was fined £13,300. Mackay Steelwork and Cladding Ltd, of Longman Drive in Inverness, pleaded guilty to breaching HSW Act Section 3(1) and was fined £40,000.

The companies admitted failing to liaise effectively or obtain sufficient information to ensure a safe system of work. The role of Mr Brown in relation to the offloading was not clear. Mackay Steelwork and Cladding Ltd also admitted failing to make cones and tape available to create a safe place of work around the lorry during the unloading operation.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Graeme McMinn said:

“This was a horrific and entirely avoidable incident. If proper safety measures had been taken, Mr Brown could still be alive today.

Those involved in arranging and carrying out deliveries should exchange and agree information to ensure lorries can be loaded and unloaded in a safe manner.

They must make sure a safe way of working is in place and that workers have clear responsibilities so everyone involved in the lifting operation knows what everyone else is meant to be doing and where they are meant to be.

They must also make sure that, when loading and unloading is taking place, adequate measures are taken to keep workers away from this work.”

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