R Plevin & Sons sentenced after worker fatally injured following trailer fall

Ashleigh Wight
November 21, 2017


Lancashire-based R Plevin & Sons has been fined £216,000 after a worker fell from a moving floor trailer and died.

Worker Paul Littlewood fell four metres while manually removing sheeting from the trailer at the wood waste company’s site in Hazlehead, Sheffield, in June 2014. He died from his injuries.

The HSE said the trailer access to the work platform at the front was protected by a single manually-fastened wire rope, which was normally fastened to a vertical post with a carabiner.

The wire rope was hanging loose at the time of the incident, and the access point was unprotected.

On 13 November, Sheffield Crown Court was told that the company had not carried out a suitable assessment of the risks associated with sheeting and unsheeting trailers, nor did it have any automatic sheeting system for the trailer.

The HSE said the protection provided was not suitable to protect staff from falling.

R Plevin & Sons of Cheshire Street, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The firm, which holds O-licences authorising up to 84 vehicles and 420 trailers, was fined £216,000 with costs of £31,266.54.

HSE inspector Tim Johnson said: “The incident could have easily been prevented by providing either automatic sheeting or self-closing gates similar to those at the access point on mobile elevated work platforms, coupled with a double guard rail along the length of the work platform.

“It is a requirement to carry out suitable planning for significant risks such as working at height. The sheeting and un-sheeting of lorry trailers is clearly working at height and the company should have identified the risks and control measures necessary to prevent this fatal accident.”

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