Haulage firm fined after driver injured

A haulage contractor has been ordered to pay almost £9,000 after a driver suffered serious injuries as he unloaded a powered access platform from an HGV.

The driver was employed by RC Robinson Haulage Ltd, which had been contracted by a platform hire company to transport the seven-ton piece of plant.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told on 10 June that the driver was delivering the plant to the Israeli Embassy in Palace Green, London, when the incident occurred in April 2014.

The plant slipped on wet metal ramps as the driver drove it off his low loader, catapulting him onto the pavement. He suffered a broken pelvis and multiple broken ribs.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found that the correct loading and unloading procedure had not been followed. The driver should have used the low loader’s winch to lower the plant off the trailer, but had missed out on in-house training on the correct technique given to colleagues.

RC Robinson Haulage Ltd of Blunham, Bedfordshire, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £782 and a £120 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the case, HSE inspector Zameer Bhunnoo said: “This was a serious accident which could have resulted in the fatality of the driver or passing members of the public.”

“Haulage drivers usually work on their own and need to be able to rely upon their skills to carry out work safely. A key part to managing risks for firms is to make sure drivers are competent before they leave the gates of their depot.”

The case underlines the importance of haulage businesses taking the correct steps to protect the health and safety of employees, suppliers, customers, members of the public and others and others, in order to avoid preventable accidents.

Our health and safety specialists can provide comprehensive advice on health and safety compliance and expert representation in health and safety investigations or prosecutions. For compliance services, please contact Lara Murray and for representation, please contact Jeremy Sirrell.