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A crushing accident at work that killed a delivery driver has resulted in a company pleading guilty to two charges of failing to protect him and others close to the scene.
The man, a delivery driver who worked for a topsoil delivery company was making a delivery of sand and aggregate to a house in Kent in November 2006.
On the day of the delivery, the man was unloading one-tonne bags of sand from his truck. It is believed he went to the back of the truck to attach the sand bags to the bucket via the clamshell so that he could unload the bags from the truck. During the process, although it is not clear why, it is thought that the man leaned over from the cab area of the vehicle in order to adjust the attachment correctly.
It is not known what happened after this only that there was a loud crunching sound heard by two men close by. When the householder went to see what had happened he could see the man’s body was caught in between the truck and the clamshell by his neck. Emergency Services were called but the man died at the scene.
Canterbury Crown Court heard from Prosecutor Quentin Hunt who said: “Investigations by the police and the Health and Safety Executive followed and the failings of the defendant company in their obligations towards their employees, non-employees and members of the public were manifest and numerous,”
He added that the company had not employed any ‘real health and safety management system’; the driver had not received any training and the company had not performed any risk assessments for the machinery being used.
The investigation by the HSE revealed that the equipment was not suitable for the safe unloading of one-tonne bags and that the clamshell part of the machinery on the truck was not designed to have straps on it.
He continued: “Not only was the system of work patently unsafe but the machinery itself was not maintained to a sufficient standard and was dangerous and defective.” He said that only ad hoc repairs had been made to the lifting accessories and lorry-mounted crane and were therefore not in a safe condition.
On behalf of the company, the company’s lawyer said that the company had been badly let down by someone who had been employed to instruct the drivers. He added that the company had been operating for over 50 years and was well-respected.
It was heard that the man was a friend of a director of the company who had been genuinely sorry for the incident.
The court will pass sentence on the case next month.
If you have been hurt in an accident at work or know someone who has been injured through no fault of their own, then please get in touch with Jefferies personal injury lawyers. We operate on a no win no fee* basis with a lot of our clients and can help you claim the compensation you or your relative deserves. Please call us on 0800 342 3206.
Published 13th February 2015.