Health & Safety News

News added on 04.02.2019

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Vehicles

Pedestrians at risk

Two recent cases illustrate the grave dangers of pedestrians working near vehicles. What went wrong and how could the employers have protected their workers?

The first case occurred at a waste transfer station in Folkestone. H was walking across the yard when he was run over by a reversing refuse collection vehicle (RCV). He died at the scene.

The HSE's investigation into the incident found that multiple vehicles, including RCVs and articulated lorries, were allowed to move around the yard with no specific controls. H’s employer, VE UK Ltd, had failed to adequately assess the risks at the yard and did not implement industry-recognised control measures to protect employees, such as methods of segregating pedestrians and managing reversing manoeuvres.

VE UK Ltd was found guilty after a trial of breaching its duty to safeguard its employee under s.2(1) Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £130,000.

The second incident happened at a dairy in Aylesbury. A logistics company driver was carrying out a pre-use check on his vehicle, when he was struck by another reversing vehicle. In this case, the HSE found that safety measures were available, such as an allocated area for carrying out pre-use vehicle checks, but were not followed by the company’s lorry drivers.

The employer, PT Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching its duty to organise safe traffic routes around the workplace under regulation 17 Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. It was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of nearly £17,650, as well as a statutory victim surcharge of £120.

Neither employer went far enough to protect workers: one had no safety measures in place and the other did not ensure that safety procedures were followed. The serious risks of pedestrians working near vehicles should have been managed using simple techniques to segregate pedestrians and organise traffic routes and manoeuvres safely.

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