Haulage firms fined ?2.2 million after depot manager killed by lorry
Two transport firms, one based in Sutton Coldfield, have been hit with fines totalling more than £2 million after a depot manager was killed by a reversing lorry in Birmingham. The horrific death took place at The Haulage Group Ltd, then known as Howell Group Ltd's premises in Inkerman Street in Vauxhall when Neil Roberts, a depot manager of Turners (Soham) Limited was hit by a heavy goods vehicle on August 30, 2019.
The 60-year-old ‘loving dad and caring husband’ was struck when an HGV reversed out of a parking space in the transport yard. The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which found the companies had failed to manage the risk linked to workplace transport.
The companies had failed to both recognise and manage the risks of large reversing vehicles where there was ‘poor visibility’. They had ignored the basic principle of keeping those walking on site and moving vehicles apart.
Had that risk been identified and safety measures been put in place Mr Roberts would not have died the HSE said. Mr Roberts heartbroken family issued a statement and said he had left a ‘massive hole’ in the family’s lives.
The statement said: “Family meant everything to him, he wasn’t a man of many words, he mainly showed his emotions through doing and showing you how much he cared. He was always there to help.
“Dad has left a massive hole in all of our lives, and nothing will be able to fill that. Not a day goes by where we don’t think of him and wish he was still here with us and how unfair it all is.
“Nearly four years have passed, and every happy moment since has been tinged with sadness and every happy moment going forward will be tinged with sadness as Dad isn’t here. He did anything and everything he could to provide for his family.”(Image: Google)
The Haulage Group Ltd based at the Maybrook Business Park in Minworth, Sutton Coldfield pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (HSWA) 1974. The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,300.
While Turners (Soham) Limited of Fordham Road, Newmarket, Suffolk pleaded guilty to breaching the same sections of the HSWA. The company was fined £1.9m and ordered to pay costs of £7,300.
HSE principal inspector, Amy Kalay, said: “This tragic incident was completely preventable. Both companies failed to recognise and control the risks associated with workplace transport, and in particular the dangers of reversing vehicles and poor visibility.
“The principle of ensuring pedestrians and vehicles are kept apart is well known and the measures needed to ensure separation and control the risk need not be complicated.
“If the companies had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and to put a safe system of work in place, this incident would not have happened.”
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