• Robert Spicer

Gloucester Workplace Death From Crushing: Health And Safety Prosecution

Crushing death: £80,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Complete Utilities Ltd (2014) Gloucester Crown Court, December 12

Complete Utilities Ltd, a contracting company, has been fined following the death of an employee from crushing injuries.

Significant points of the case

  • In October 2012 Spencer Powles, an employee of Complete, was working at the company’s site in Gloucester.

  • He was crushed between a telehandler and a metal shipping container and suffered fatal abdominal injuries.

  • The operator of the telehandler braked suddenly when he saw Powles. The vehicle lurched forward and trapped Powles between the vehicle and a container.

  • The operator of the telehandler had not receive proper training from a qualified instructor. The site was disorganised and chaotic with no measures to organise traffic or safely separate vehicles and pedestrians.

  • No safe system of work for the lifting of items had been out in place and the telehandler was poorly maintained.

The company was fined £80,000 plus £27,000 costs for a breach of section 2, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of employees.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that workplace transport was the second biggest cause of fatal and major incidents in the workplace. Employers must ensure that all drivers are properly trained by qualified, competent instructors for the vehicles they are operating.

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