United Grab Hire fined after worker death

Ashleigh Wight
October 20, 2017


The director of a waste collection and recycling company has received a suspended prison sentence after a worker was struck by a reversing telehandler and later died.

The worker, who has not been named, was crossing the firm’s yard in Horley, Surrey, on 7 July 2016 when he was struck by the vehicle. He sustained multiple injuries and later died in hospital.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company, Brighton-based United Grab Hire, had failed to address the management of large vehicle movements on its premises, nor had it carried out a health and safety inspection at the site.

The investigation also found the person driving the telehandler had not received any training in how to operate the vehicle safely.

At Brighton Crown Court on 12 October, director Mark Howland was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community service. He had pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The company, which holds O-licences authorising up to 13 vehicles, pleaded guilty to breaching the Workplace (Health and Safety Welfare) Regulations 1992 and was fined £500,000 with £5,968 in costs.

HSE inspector Russell Beckett said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company and its director to take simple steps.

“Vehicle movements cause numerous serious injuries and deaths in the waste and recycling sector, and in this case were not controlled even at a basic level at this company’s site.

“The company failed to have adequate pedestrian segregation measures such as walkways or crossing points in areas where pedestrians walked. Reversing of large vehicles near to pedestrians was commonplace.”

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