Failure to separate moving vehicles from employees led to a worker being struck by a lorry and suffering serious neck and back injuries.
An employee at a west country waste water plant was working on a sewage pump when he was struck by a inadvertently reversing tanker, which flung him forward onto a nearby well.
There was no safety barrier around the well, which was 12-metres deep, and the worker only managed to prevent himself from falling further in by grabbing hold of chains attached to the sides. The force of the impact caused the worker to suffer an abrupt jolt to his neck and lower back. As a result, the worker was off work for three months and, on his return, was only able to carry out light duties.
A number of failings
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found a number of failings which had led to the accident.
The tanker’s incorrect reversing was attributed to the inexperience of the driver who had put the vehicle into the wrong gear. However, the HSE also found that there was no segregation of workplace vehicles from workers on-site and no cameras fitted to the tanker, which would have enabled the driver to have a clear view of anyone present at the rear of his vehicle.
The waste water worker was awarded nearly £10,000 in damages, which also included compensation for “the ongoing pain and disruption” still being suffered as a result of his injuries.
Since the accident occurred, preventative measures have been put into place to prevent further accidents from occurring. All company tankers are installed with cameras at the rear to ensure drivers have a clear view and bollards have also been erected in front of the well to separate workers from vehicles and minimise the risk of similar accidents.