A trailer manufacturer has been ordered to pay more than £26,000 in fines and costs after an employee broke six ribs when he was trapped between a tractor unit and a trailer.
The incident occurred in September 2015 when the employee was arranging the movement of trailers at Leighton Buzzard-based BS Trailer Services’ yard.
Luton Magistrates’ Court was told last week that there appeared to have been a misunderstanding over which trailer the driver of the tractor unit was to move first.
The driver failed to see the worker in his blind spot as he manoeuvred the tractor unit to hitch it up with the same trailer the worker was looking at. As he reversed, he trapped the man between the tractor unit and the trailer.
The HSE, which prosecuted the company, said it was fortunate the driver had his window open as he was able to stop reversing quickly after realising his colleague was trapped.
The HSE found that the yard was not organised in a way that would allow people and vehicles to circulate safely, and suitable measures to prevent danger had not been taken. Three other businesses also used the yard to manoeuvre their own vehicles.
HSE inspector Robert Meardon said: “A traffic management plan agreed with the tenant businesses would have identified areas of segregation and measures for the separation of vehicles and people with barriers and clear signage. This had not been carried out and implemented.
“The injuries could easily have been fatal and I want to say to all companies that they need to consider and take measures to reduce the risk of people being injured by the movement of vehicles on their site; this is one of the most common causes of accidents.”
BS Trailer Services, based in Kings Farm Industrial Estate, Great Billington, Leighton Buzzard, was fined £25,000 with £1,599.50 in costs on 20 March. It pleaded guilty to breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.