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OFF-LOADING RENDER PALLET ENDED IN TRAGEDY

Plastering firm director died during modified delivery operation

RR Transport Ltd of Cornwall has been ordered to pay over £50,000 in fines and prosecution costs after the director of a plastering company died when a pallet containing over a tonne of render fell on top of him.

Phillip Ring, aged 37,  from Plymouth was struck by the falling pallet during delivery operations near premises at Yelverton Business Park , Plymouth in March 2009. 

Plymouth Crown Court heard that the delivery should have been offloaded at a nearby construction site using a forklift truck or telehandler. However, restrictions on access to the site and a lack of mechanical handling equipment resulted in unloading the pallet by hand at a nearby business park using the pallet truck and lorry tail lift.

During the operation control of the load was ‘lost’ causing the load to fall from the tail lift thereby crushing Mr Ring who was standing on the road at the rear of the vehicle. He suffered serious head injuries and died later at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

Significant risks involved in delivery operations

RR Transport Ltd of Redruth was fined £22,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jo Fitzgerald said:

“This was a tragic incident and it illustrates the significant risks involved in delivery operations. Thinking through those risks in a structured way helps delivery firms identify what could go wrong and improve safety.

While HSE does not say that RR Transport’s failings caused Mr Ring’s death, by failing to assess the risks properly the company did not have a number of important steps in place, which would have made their operation safer.

The company did not have a clear, consistent system for drivers to follow for using tail lifts, the tail lifts on their vehicles had not had the thorough examinations required by law and they did not have a proper system for inspecting their pallet trucks.”

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