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Fatality And Injury Caused By Moving Vehicles In the Workplace

17th December 2013
Between 2011 and 2012 RIDDOR reported that 2 per cent (or nearly 500 according to the HSE) of non-fatal injuries involved workplace vehicles, a quarter of which, were classified as major incidents and 205 – or 4 in 10 accidents – involved a moving vehicle.

The number of incidents and likely accident claims arising from negligence with vehicle safety is alarmingly high, especially in particular industries where vehicles are in heavy use. Occupational sectors, which appear to be have the highest number of non-fatal vehicle injuries, and often leading to court hearings and payment of accident compensation were:

• Elementary storage - 530
• Refuse and salvage - 93
• Large goods - 91

Many of the accidents involving a moving vehicle are the result of a lack of effective safety procedures in place or a failure through negligence to observe the procedures. In the latter situation, company employers are likely to be aware of a persistent problem but no remedial action has been taken.

In a recent case, a company driver was actually killed by his own moving lorry. The court heard how a West Midlands transportation company driver failed to carry out the required procedure of simply applying the handbrake to a tractor unit when coupling to the trailer or switching the engine off.

Consequently, the driver was crushed by the lorry as it rolled forward and was only stopped from crashing onto a public highway by a brick wall.

An HSE investigation revealed that similar incidents had occurred at the same company and site, yet there was still a lack of appropriate measures to prevent vehicles parked on the site from rolling away, such as installing road bumps or using chocks in front of the vehicle wheels.

In addition, there was a failure by the company to effectively monitor its employees and ensure they followed the correct, safe working procedure. As a result, the firm pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and fined a total of £300,000 plus court costs of £26,000.