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17th April 2024

Builders Merchant Fined £380,000 After Health And Safety Breach

Fuel Tanker Delivery

What’s Happened

In a case which highlights the dangers arising from inadequate management of workplace transport, we take a closer look at an incident which saw a delivery driver sustain a traumatic brain injury after he fell from a trailer. The incident landed a company with a £380,000 fine for health and safety failings.

The incident involved a delivery driver, who was delivering fuel to the West Midlands site to power a temporary diesel generator.

The driver was understood to have been arranging equipment on a trailer attached to his vehicle when it was struck by a forklift truck reversing out of a nearby unit. As a result of the impact, the trailer shunted into the driver who fell and hit his head on the tarmac below. He sustained a brain injury which required a five-week stay in hospital, before spending 13 weeks in a care facility. He is understood to still suffer from memory loss and dizziness as a result of his injury affecting his ability to work.

HSE Investigation

The incident was reported to the Health and Safety Executive who subsequently investigated the site. Inspectors found that the company understood the risks associated with workplace transport, as control measures had been identified for separating pedestrians and vehicles – but these had simply not been implemented. Additionally, the company had failed to identify safe systems of work for the delivery of fuel to the temporary generators at its site,

The company appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court where they pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. As well as the £380,000 fine, it was ordered to pay £5,934 in prosecution costs.

After the case, the HSE inspector involved in the case said, ‘This case highlights the dangers arising from inadequate management of workplace transport,’


It is a key requirement that every workplace is safe for the people and vehicles using it, and that traffic routes are suitable for the people and vehicles using them.

By law:

  • Every workplace must be safe for the people and vehicles using it.
  • Workplace traffic routes must be suitable for the people and vehicles using them.
  • Where vehicles and pedestrians share a traffic route, there must be enough separation between them.
  • Wherever it is reasonable to do so, you should provide separate routes or pavements for pedestrians to keep them away from vehicles. The most effective way to do this is to separate pedestrian from vehicle activity, by making routes entirely separate.

Effective ways to keep vehicles away from pedestrian areas include:

  • Protective barriers;
  • Clear markings to set apart vehicle and pedestrian routes; and
  • Raised kerbs to mark vehicle and pedestrian areas.

Where needed, provide suitable barriers or guard rails:

  • At entrances and exits to buildings;
  • At the corners of buildings; and
  • To prevent pedestrians from walking straight onto roads.

If you require assistance with Workplace transport assessments at your workplace, then don’t hesitate to contact the health and safety advice line on 0300 303 5228 or email us at

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