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News added on 26.10.2020

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Lack of planning led to avoidable death

An agency worker was crushed to death while making a delivery of stone tiles. How could this fatal accident have been avoided?

P was an agency HGV driver. He had been working for his host employer, Reason Transport UK Ltd, for two weeks when he made a delivery of stone tiles to a residential property.

Using a manual pallet truck, he spent several minutes struggling to lift and manoeuvre the pallet of tiles onto the delivery truck’s tail-lift. However, when he managed to get the pallet into position on the tail-lift, he lost control of the pallet. It fell onto him, causing fatal crush injuries.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the pallet was incorrectly labelled as weighing 1,200 kg, when it actually weighed over 1,400 kg. In any event, the pallet was in excess of the 1,000 kg weight limit set by the pallet network for tail-lift deliveries.

The HSE also found that P had not received any training from the company in safely delivering pallets using a tail-lift. Host employers must ensure that agency workers are provided with sufficient information and training to enable them to carry out their work safely.

Reason Transport UK Limited went into liquidation in 2017. It pleaded guilty to breaching its duty under s.3(1) Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure that non-employees affected by its activities were not exposed to health and safety risks. It was fined £5,000.

Accurate information about the load and properly training the agency worker would have enabled the lift to be safely planned and carried out. The load could have been split to enable it to be manoeuvred and lifted safely.

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