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ROAD HAULIER FOUND GUILTY OF MANSLAUGHTER

Failure to deploy outriggers on lorry triggered death of workman

It has been reported by the Eastern Daily Press (EDP  April 17 2013) that a haulier has been found guilty of manslaughter after a dockside incident in which a workman was crushed to death by a pontoon.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that 52-year-old Neville Wightman was crushed under a pontoon which fell from a lorry loader that tipped over at Ipswich Docks shortly before Christmas 2011.

Haulier Paul Napier, aged 48, of Clacton-on-Sea had denied manslaughter but was found guilty by a jury.

Napier chose not to give evidence but in a prepared statement to police said he had been distracted by chatting to Mr Wightman and a colleague and had not lowered the lorry stabilising legs before starting to unload a pontoon with a crane on his vehicle.

Following the trial Det Insp Kevin Hayward from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team who oversaw the investigation, said:

“This was a complex investigation which we carried out with the assistance of HSE . I hope the verdict at court today will go some way to healing the pain Neville Wightman’s family have gone through over the past 18 months since his tragic and untimely death.

Right equipment must be properly deployed

HSE Inspector Antonina Drury said:

“This tragic incident could easily have been avoided had Paul Napier followed the basic rules of undertaking a safe lifting operation.

Had he ensured that the right equipment was properly deployed, and had he kept everyone safely clear of the lifting zone until the load had been landed, then Mr Wightman would still be alive and Mr Burden could have avoided serious injury.

This case demonstrates all too graphically what can go wrong, and why extreme care must be taken all times during the planning, management and execution of such operations.”

Napier will be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on May 17.

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