Two companies were recently fined at Leeds Magistrates’ Court following an accident which resulted in an employee suffering a fracture to one of his neck vertebrae.
Both companies pleaded guilty to breaches of Health & Safety Regulations.
Amandeep Murria of Kangs Solicitors comments upon the circumstances.
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The Circumstances | Kangs Solicitors Health and Safety Offences Defence Solicitors
- The incident occurred in August 2020 when a delivery driver, an employee of the first company being prosecuted, delivered pallets to a site belonging to the second company being prosecuted.
- During the unloading of the pallets, the delivery driver was struck by one of two falling pallets, causing the injury.
- Upon investigation, the Health & Safety Executive found that both companies had failed in their respective health & safety duties in that:
- there were failures of imposing simple safety control measures and
- in particular, there was a failure to ensure the safety of delivery drivers by not moving them to a safe location whilst deliveries were unloaded.
The Relevant Law | Kangs Solicitors Health and Safety Team
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (‘the Act’) provides:
‘2 General duties of employers to their employees.
(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of an employer’s duty under the preceding subsection, the matters to which that duty extends include in particular—
(a) the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health;
(b) arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances;
(c) the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;
(d) so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer’s control, the maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without such risks;
(e) the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.’
3 General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees.
(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.
(2) It shall be the duty of every self-employed person who conducts an undertaking of a prescribed descriptionto conduct the undertakingin such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.
(2A) A description of undertaking included in regulations under subsection (2) may be framed by reference to—
(a)the type of activities carried out by the undertaking, where those activities are carried out or any other feature of the undertaking;
(b)whether persons who may be affected by the conduct of the undertaking, other than the self-employed person (or his employees), may thereby be exposed to risks to their health or safety.
(3) In such cases as may be prescribed, it shall be the duty of every employer and every self-employed person, in the prescribed circumstances and in the prescribed manner, to give to persons (not being his employees) who may be affected by the way in which he conducts his undertaking the prescribed information about such aspects of the way in which he conducts his undertaking as might affect their health or safety.’
The Hearing | Kangs Health and Safety Solicitors
One company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2 (1) of the Act and the other company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3 (1) of the Act.
The penalties imposed were:
- a fine of £50,000 and £4,000 respectively and
- Prosecution costs of £4,654.90 and £4,806.60 respectively.
An Inspector from the Health & Safety Executive, was quoted as saying:
‘Loading and unloading of HGVs by FLTs are among the most dangerous transport activities in the workplace. People can by hit by falling objects, struck by FLTs, or fall from vehicles.
All such incidents can result in serious personal injury and the risks involved must be managed by all those who have legal duties for the safety of delivery drivers, both their employer and the sites they deliver to.
This incident could so easily have been avoided by implementing the simple control measure of keeping the delivery driver out of the area where the FLT was operating to maintain a safe system of work.’
How Can We Help? | Kangs Safety At WorkSolicitors
Kangs Solicitors offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with all matters involving
of Health and Safety Law.
Our Team provides advice and assistance throughout the entire criminal process, from the initial intervention by the Health and Safety Executive through to enforcement, interview under caution and ultimately the defence of any ensuing criminal prosecution.
Please feel free to contact our team through any of the following who will be happy to provide you with some initial advice and assistance.