Operator on last chance disqualified for two years

A serial non-compliant operator in West Sussex has had its licence revoked and its director disqualified for two years after a wheel-loss incident on the A24 could have led to a tragic accident.

Michael Turrell, trading as MT Services, had a history of public inquiry (PI) appearances stretching back to 1992, but he was given a last chance in February 2018 after a DVSA investigation uncovered “a woeful catalogue of non-compliance across the licence undertakings”.

However, just months later, the operator received an immediate prohibition following the wheel-loss incident. The prohibition related to road wheels missing on the outer and inner rear axle three and wheel studs missing. A follow-up maintenance investigation was marked unsatisfactory in respect of defects in the driver walk-around checks; no continuing professional development for the transport manager; absence of rolling road brake tests, and an absence of a wheel re-torque programme.

At a PI in Eastbourne, deputy traffic commissioner Anthony Seculer said the operator could not satisfy him that he had taken all reasonable steps to prevent the wheel-loss incident. In a written decision, Seculer said: “Having observed and heard from the operator at the inquiry, I found him to be inconsistent, unimpressive and lacking in credibility. This is an operator who has failed to heed the most clear and loud wake-up calls. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr Turrell poses a real and serious risk to road safety as an operator.”

Transport manager Ronald Gander also lost his repute and was disqualified indefinitely.

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HSE says workplace deaths "remain worryingly high"

Falling from height and being struck by a moving vehicle continue to be the most common causes of fatal injury, according to the HSE. It said almost 60% of fatalities in 2018/19 were due to those two causes, plus being struck by a moving object. Out of 147 deaths of workers during the period, 40 were due to a fall from height, 30 were after being struck by a moving vehicle and 15 were due to be struck by a moving object. The figures highlighted the risks to older workers: 25% of fatal injuries in the period were to workers aged 60 or over, even though such workers made up approximately 10% of the workforce.

However, there has been a long-term reduction in the number of fatalities since 1981. Although 2018/19 saw an increase of six workplace fatalities from 2017/18, the number has remained broadly level in recent years. Agriculture, forestry and fishing and waste and recycling were the worst affected sectors, with a rate of fatal injury 18 times and 17 times as high as the average across all industries respectively.

HSE chairman Martin Temple said: “These statistics remind us that, in certain sectors of the economy, workplace deaths remain worryingly high.”

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