8th March 2023
Manchester Warehousing Company Fined £800k After Death Of Visiting HGV Driver
In January this year, Kingsland Drinks Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2 and 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 following a fatal incident involving a delivery driver in their yard.
John Fitzpatrick was waiting for his trailer to be loaded when he was struck by a forklift truck. He was knocked unconscious and suffered serious head injuries. He passed away in hospital having never regained consciousness.
Kingsland Drinks were fined £800,000 as a result and were ordered to pay £5,614 in costs.
Out of date risk assessment
A risk assessment for loading/unloading activities was in place, however, it was deemed to be out of date and not far reaching enough to consider certain reasonably foreseeable risks.
One such issue was the lack of awareness of the need to segregate pedestrians from vehicles.
There was also no information made available to visiting drivers about site safety.
Had more time been taken to plan work activities, including designing a suitable ‘workflow’ of traffic into the yard and loading areas for visiting traffic and for forklift trucks coming out of the warehouse, then this incident could have been avoided.
Where drivers, whether employed or third party, visit your site, the onus is on you to provide suitable information and instruction on the workplace transport control measures in place to ensure a safe environment.
Clear segregation should be in place, allowing pedestrians and vehicle drivers to operate safely and independently of each other.
Once workflow routes have been considered, designated painted pathways together with signage are an appropriate way of achieving this.
Third party drivers
Visiting drivers will always be at higher risk than your own employed personnel as they are not as familiar with your site and day to day operations.
Bespoke signage or a gatehouse keeper providing instruction would be good methods of communicating workplace transport procedures, however generic speed restriction or ‘sound horn’ signage are better than nothing.
Workplace transport risk assessment
All of these considerations should be recorded in a detailed risk assessment document, clearly identifying the hazards associated with your workplace and the control measures implemented to reduce risk exposure.
This should be reviewed regularly, including after near misses or reported incidents, or if any significant changes have been made to the working area.
Appoint Lighthouse As Your Health & Safety Competent Person
The competent person role does not have to be fulfilled internally within every company. You can, therefore, outsource the appointment to a contractor or consultancy with the necessary qualifications and experience.