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MASSIVE FINES FOLLOW CONCRETE PRODUCTS SITE DEATH

Haulier and major concrete firm accountable for site vehicle fatality

Larkins Logistics Ltd and Bison Manufacturing Ltd have been ordered (24 April) to pay a total of £794,658 in fines and prosecution costs after a driver was run over by his lorry at a Bison concrete products factory in Derbyshire in October 2010.

Gary Walters, 51, was working for contract haulier Larkins Logistics Ltd when he collected a trailer loaded with structural concrete products. The brake in his cab was not applied and because the brake to the trailer had not been aplied the vehicle moved as he was coupling the two parts together.

Mr Walters is believed to have gone to the front of the vehicle (possibly to apply the brakes) but he was struck by the cab and run over. He died of multiple injuries.

HSE investigators found Bison staff did not routinely apply the trailer brakes to ensure the units were safely parked. A police vehicle examiner examined ten other trailers at the site and none had the brakes applied nor any other other manual system of restraint e.g.  chocks.

Derby Crown Court heard that there had been a number of other instances of lorries rolling away and Larkins’ drivers had not been properly trained to assess the use of trailer brakes in the yard.

Both companies had identified the risk to workers, but had failed to implement appropriate control measures and the method of working ignored published safety guidance.

Not an isolated incident and entirely preventable

Following a trial on 8 and 9 April 2013 Larkins Logistics Ltd, of Gloucester, was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined (24 April) £350,000 for the Section 2(1) offence, £100,000 for the Section 3(1) offence and ordered to pay full costs of £23,317.

Bison Manufacturing Ltd, of Dartford, Kent, admitted the same charges and was fined £233,000 for the Section 2(1) offence, £67,000 for the Section 3(1) offence and ordered to pay full costs of £21,341.

After the hearing HSE inspector Judith McNulty-Green said:

“This was not an isolated incident – sadly there are deaths and serious injuries to drivers every year in similar circumstances. It happened out of poor practice and was entirely preventable.

Bison Manufacturing Ltd failed to implement a safe system of work for the storage of trailers with the brakes applied. They and Larkins Logistics Ltd also failed to implement and monitor working procedures for coupling and uncoupling trailers in the yard, and they failed to do it despite previous incidents.

Had they done so they would have realised trailer brakes were routinely not being applied, taken appropriate action and a man would not have lost his life so needlessly.”

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