A plastic product manufacturer has been fined £1m after a delivery driver was fatally injured.
Cambridge Crown Court heard last week how Gareth Wilson, a delivery driver for South Cambridgeshire operator Mark Doel Transport, was fatally injured when he was struck in 2015 by a fork-lift truck that had large coils suspended from the forks.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Glynwed Pipe Systems failed to properly manage workplace transport in the yard area, where employees and members of the public were exposed to the risk of being hit. The investigation also found that the systems of work in place were not, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe.
Glynwed Pipe Systems of St Peter’s Road, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £1m and ordered to pay costs of £27,942.
Speaking after the hearing. HSE inspector Roxanne Barker said: “There are more than 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace every year and, as in this case, sadly some of them are fatal.
“The HSE investigation found the yard was not organised to allow safe circulation of people and traffic, as appropriate routes were not identified and therefore insufficient in number. A properly implemented traffic management plan should have identified sufficient measures for the separation of vehicles and people. These should include protected walkways, clear signage and barriers.”
Mark Doel, of Mark Doel Transport, said after the court case that he remembered arriving at the scene of the accident very shortly after it happened. It is the only traffic-related fatality that the company has experienced in its 30-year existence.
Doel added: “We’ve been going to this site for 20 years – maybe longer – and never had a problem. I’ve never understood how this accident happened. The yard had a few trailers in it, but not that many. I felt very sorry for the fork-lift truck driver too because he was obviously very upset about it. I just said to him ‘it was an accident mate, they do happen’ .”
Mark Doel Transport has continued visiting the yard since the accident and Doel said that although they had tightened up procedures since, he felt that the accident was a “one in a million” piece of bad luck.
Doel said he remembered Gareth Wilson, whom workmates knew as Gary, “was a good bloke and a good laugh” .
He added: “I’ve never quite got used to the fact that I was talking to him 30 minutes before he was killed.”