Plastic company that ran HGV without permission refused O-licence

A plastic manufacturer has been refused a restricted O-licence by West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Jones after it operated a vehicle without permission for a significant period and instructed a driver to provide false information to the DVSA.

Jagjit Khera, director of Wednesbury-based Proplas 2008, had told one of its drivers to give examiners the O-licence number for a licence issued to another business in the event of being stopped.

A public inquiry (PI) on 22 October was told that a DVSA examiner was concerned the company and sole trader Davinder Singh, who trades as SJI Transport, were operating illegally after a driver, who claimed to work for Proplas, was stopped in September 2014.

Khera told an examiner that the vehicle was hired from SJI Transport, which raised suspicions that the SJI was operating outside of its single vehicle authorisation.

When questioned later, Singh told the examiner that although he had previously moved goods for Proplas, he now had no contact with them and had never owned the vehicle Khera claimed Singh had hired to him.

It transpired that the vehicle was registered to Khera, and the company had been convicted and fined for operating without an O-licence.

Proplas 2008 did not attend the PI and no evidence was produced to prove it had the financial resources for the restricted O-licence for two vehicles and four trailers it had applied for.

In his written decision the TC accepted that Singh had been truthful when he denied lending a vehicle to Proplas.

Jones said: “I have no difficulty whatsoever in confirming that Jagjit Khera attempted to mislead both the DVSA and myself.

“A consequence of this has been to cause considerable inconvenience and expense to Davinder Singh, who appears
to be wholly innocent despite earlier suspicions that he might have been loaning a licence or operating in excess of authority.”

Operating a vehicle without an O-licence had not been an isolated act by Proplas, the TC added.

The TC made no decision in respect of Davinder Singh’s O-licence.

  • This article was published in the 14 January issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe?

Two firms fined after driver suffers severe head injuries

Two companies have admitted breaching health and safety regulations after a truck driver suffered serious head injuries when he fell during a loading operation.

Mold Magistrates’ Court was told that a driver employed by Hughes Specialised Transport was knocked to the ground while helping load large coils of insulated pipe onto a curtain-sided trailer in August 2013.

The incident occurred at customer Rehau’s site in Tanygrisiau, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd.

The coils were being loaded on to the truck on their edge, rather than flat, by a forklift truck. The driver who was helping had to be close to the suspended load in order to place chocks of timber for support before the coils could be secured.

As the forklift truck driver lifted a coil, the load toppled and knocked the unnamed HGV driver to the floor of the yard.

He suffered several fractures to his skull, a traumatic brain injury and needed an operation to remove a blood clot.

The HGV driver had only recently been employed by the operator, which has an O-licence authorising 12 vehicles and 12 trailers.

The Health and Safety Executive found that the method the companies had used to lift the coils onto the trailer had not been risk assessed, and co-operation and communication between the two parties for what was considered to be a high-risk operation had not been sufficient.

Following the accident, plastic product manufacturer Rehau now uses purpose-built stillages to load the coils at ground level before they are put onto a trailer, which will avoid the need for working at height.

The case was referred to Caernarfon Crown Court for sentencing on 23 December.

Rehau, of Hill Court, Ross on Wye, Herefordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £60,000.

Hughes Specialised Transport, of Manod Road, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, also pleaded guilty and was fined £6,000.
Both companies must pay an equal share of the total costs of £8,368.

  • This article was published in the 14 January issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe?