Bolton-based operator Alec Sharples Farm Supplies and Transport has been ordered to pay £44,000 in fines and costs after a self-employed haulage contractor was killed by a reversing HGV at its site.
Owner-operator Daniel Adams died after receiving fatal injuries when he was crushed between two trucks at the site in Swinton, Greater Manchester, on 7 May 2014.
Adams, who rented the unit on the Sandywood Industrial Estate from the operator, was working on his truck when the incident took place.
An Alec Sharples HGV reversed into the section of the yard used by Adams and spoke with him. However, when the conversation was over, the driver of Sharples’ truck reversed, inadvertently crushing Adams between the two vehicles.
Adams, from Farnworth, Bolton, was taken to Salford Royal Hospital where he died of internal injuries two days later.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Alec Sharples Farm Supplies and Transport for serious safety failings, found that the company had not implemented a safe system for reversing HGVs at the site and for training truck drivers.
It also discovered that there was no segregation of pedestrians and HGVs at the site, and no banksmen had been provided to assist with vehicle movements.
The company, which has an O-licence authorising up to 24 vehicles and 24 trailers out of the site on Lumns Lane, Swinton, was issued with an improvement notice by the HSE shortly after the incident. The notice was complied with upon further inspection by the HSE in June 2014.
Alec Sharples Farm Supplies and Transport pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Manchester Crown Court on 16 February. It was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,000.
HSE inspector Ian Betley said after the hearing: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the host company to implement safe systems of work, and failure to ensure that health and safety documentation was communicated and followed.
“This risk was further amplified by the company’s failure to undertake a number of simple safety measures including segregating vehicles and pedestrians, ensuring that vehicles were fitted with reversing ‘bleepers’, and ensuring that reversing manoeuvres were supervised in accordance with their site rules.”