February 23, 2017

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Worker severely injured after driving into excavation

London Container Terminal (Tilbury) Limited (LCT) has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when the ‘straddle’ carrier he was driving overturned at Tilbury Docks in November 2014.

Basildon Crown Court heard that on 16 November 2014 a worker inadvertently drove his straddle carrier into a large excavation at the docks.

The court was told that looking down from his cab, the driver did not see the road cones, small flashing lights or the ticker tape around the excavation because it was dark and the weather conditions were poor.

The straddle carrier, a vehicle used in the port terminal for stacking and moving freight shipping containers, toppled over.

The worker suffered life changing injuries, his head wound required 29 staples to close and he continues to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the precautions taken by LCT were wholly inadequate to prevent the vehicle from being able to enter the excavation.

The court heard that all of the straddle carrier drivers working in the vicinity of the excavation had been exposed to the risk for several days during the course of the excavation works.

London Container Terminal Limited of Northfleet Hope House, Tilbury Docks, Tilbury pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £73,296.

London Container Terminal ceased trading in December the fine will be paid by the Port of Tilbury (London) Limited.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Nicola Jaynes said: “This was a serious incident and that could have been much worse. This was preventable if LCT had the correct safety precautions in place.  This case serves as a reminder that suitable precautions are required to protect both pedestrians and vehicles from entering excavations.”

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