Trailer firm fined after worker crushed

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A Bedfordshire trailer firm has been sentenced after an employee suffered crush injuries when he was trapped between a lorry’s cab and a trailer.

Luton Magistrates’ Court heard the worker was arranging the movement of lorry trailers in the transport yard of BS Trailer Services in Leighton Buzzard, on September 15, 2015.

Another employee was assisting by driving a tractor unit (the cab) but the court heard there appeared to have been a misunderstanding over which trailer the driver of the cab was to move first.

He manoeuvred the tractor unit to hitch up the same trailer his colleague was looking at but could not see him in his ‘blind-spot’. He reversed his cab trapping the injured man between the tractor unit and the trailer.

Fortunately, the driver had his door window open and heard a shout and stopped quickly. The trapped man sustained six broken ribs in the incident.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting said its investigation found the yard was not organised to allow safe circulation of people and traffic. Appropriate routes were not identified and therefore insufficient in number. Suitable measures had not been taken to prevent danger. Three other organisations also occupied premises in the yard owned by the defendant, all with their own employees and visitors manoeuvring in the yard.

BS Trailer Services of Kings Farm Industrial Estate, Great Billington, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 3 (a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and Regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

The district judge fined the company at total of £25,000 and awarded full prosecution costs of £1,599.50.

HSE inspector Robert Meardon said: “A Traffic Management Plan agreed with the tenant businesses would have identified areas of segregation and measures for the separation of vehicles and people with barriers and clear signage. This had not been carried out and implemented.

“The injuries could easily have been fatal and I want to say to all companies that they need to consider and take measures to reduce the risk of people being injured by the movement of vehicles on their site; this is one of the most common causes of accidents. There are more than 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace every year, some of which are fatal.”

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