Company fined £9,400 after employee falls from lorry bed

HMRC

A company has been fined £9,400 after its employee fell from a lorry bed while unloading it in South East Wales.

The worker suffered multiple fractures following the fall from height at the premises of Braithwaite Engineers in Risca, Monmouthshire in October 2017.

Cwmbran Magistrates Court heard how his injuries, which included fractures of the head, ribs, shoulder blade and fingers, led to the employee missing more than five months of work.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company, which manufactures steel water storage tanks and supporting towers, had failed to provide employees with suitable and clear instructions and training so that staff did not access lorry beds in an unsafe manner.

Braithwaite Engineers pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and was ordered to pay costs of £1,680.75.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Will Powell said: “Falls from vehicles can be overlooked by employers when considering risks from work at height. Simple measures would have prevented this accident.”

Earlier this year, the all-party parliamentary group on working at height published a report making four recommendations to reduce the overall number of falls.

These included the introduction of an enhanced reporting system through RIDDOR, the appointment of an independent body allowing confidential reporting of all near misses and an equivalent system to Scotland’s fatal accident inquiry process extended to the rest of the UK.

Derbyshire sole trader has licence curtailed

O-licence

A Derbyshire sole trader has had his licence curtailed and received a formal warning after a maintenance inspection uncovered incomplete records, a sub-standard MOT history and a raft of prohibitions.

However, Gary Pollard, trading as GJP Pollard, escaped losing his repute “by narrow margins” after North West traffic commissioner Simon Evans said he had no previous history before the regulator.

The inspection was prompted by the issue of an immediate ‘S’ marked prohibition, during which the vehicle examiner recorded incomplete maintenance records, un-notified changes to the maintenance contractor and a failure to remove from the licence one of the operating centres.

At a Golborne public inquiry, Pollard, who had a licence for five vehicles and five trailers, accepted that his business had expanded too quickly and he had not adjusted to the changed expectations of his role.

He admitted spending too much time driving rather than managing, but he said this had now been addressed and he only intended to drive for up to two half days a week.

Pollard also admitted that financial standing was not satisfied in the three months preceding the PI, but that it was now satisfied.

The operator’s OCRS was recorded as red and the first time MOT failure rate over two years had been 38% - more than twice as bad as the national average.

It also had an “unenviable” 100% prohibition rate, both immediate and one marked ‘S’.

However, in a written decision the TC said that suspension of the licence would be disproportionate and tantamount to revocation:

“I judge however that ‘moderate to serious’ regulatory action against the licence is justified,” he added.

“Curtailment of the licence that limits the size of the fleet that may be operated under the licence is appropriate here.

“The fleet capable of use at one time will be cut by 40% from five vehicles to three vehicles with immediate effect: the trailer number is unchanged.

“This direction will take effect immediately and last indefinitely. I shall be prepared to review this reduction but not before I have received a further independent audit report commissioned by the operator.

The TC added: “I find Gary Pollard’s repute as TM to be severely tarnished, but on balance not lost.”