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Large fines imposed following accident during vehicle unloading

Two companies have recently had massive fines and court costs imposed upon them. A company responsible for transportation and the company at who's site the incident occurred. In addition to the tragic and un-necessary loss of life, emotional damage and reputational damage, the costs for one company was a fine of £50,000 + £16,500 costs and for the other, £15,000 fine and £12,700 costs. (We do not feel that personalising this case in any way is of benefit to anyone).

In this case, a load fell whilst being unloaded and crushed a passing worker, instantly killing him.

This case is unusual in its nature and severity but very common in terms of lack of safe systems. It is very common for businesses to move goods about without properly risk assessing all features of loading, load distribution/security, safety during transit and unloading.

Here is a simple tip to ensure full risk assessments and control systems. It is the who, why, when, where and how system.

  • Who might be affected? (Think of anyone at all, workers, passers by, contractors, visitors, out of hours, unauthorised)
  • Why might they be affected (and why is the work taking place/are you using this systesm etc?
  • When does the work take place? (Lighting, time, traffic flow etc)
  • Where does the work take place? (All questions relating to the environment).
  • How? What are the work processes / are they necessary / can they be improved etc?

Five simple words which can make so much difference. But if you feel that you might need some professional assistance, please feel free to make contact. We would be delighted to assist you with your transport H & S policy and systems.