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    LORRY RUNAWAY CLAIMED LIFE OF DRIVER

    Workman died after being drawn under trailer

    A waste management company has been sentenced after a 56-year-old man was fatally injured in a ‘lorry runaway’ incident at a hospital in Plymouth on 8th June 2015.

    Plymouth Crown Court heard that employee Lee Jane was working at the hospital site using a lorry and trailer to remove skips of ash from the incinerator within the hospital premises. He parked the lorry and trailer on a downward sloping road outside of the incinerator building.

    Mr Jane was coupling the lorry to the skip trailer when he lost control of the vehicle combination. In trying to prevent the vehicle ‘runaway’ he was drawn under the trailer and sustained fatal injuries.

    The runaway vehicles continued rolling downhill and collided with the hospital radio building.

    Suitability of location not assessed

    HSE investigators established that the handbrake of the lorry had not been applied.  The investigation also found that “there was no suitable and sufficient specific risk assessment to address the waste collection operation on site and in consequence the work had not been appropriately planned.”

    • Viridor Waste Management Limited – pleaded guilty during a trial to breaching Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 in relation to the failure to conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the work being undertaken. The company was fined £237,500 and ordered to pay costs of £128,428.94.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Georgina Speake said:

    “This was a tragic death and Viridor Waste Management Ltd should have conducted a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks posed by this operation.  In particular, the company failed to properly assess the suitability of the location which drivers were using for the skip collection operation.

    Both HSE and industry guidance suggest that tasks like this should be carried out on firm and level ground.  It is my view that there were level areas within the hospital grounds that the defendant should have identified and designated for the drivers to load the skips and couple the trailer.  The fact that the location chosen was on an incline heightened the need for careful risk assessment, and this was not done.

    Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

     

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