Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

Author Bio ▼

Ian joined Informa (formerly UBM) in 2018 as the Editor of SHP. Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in business to business trade print media, in the automotive sector. He was Online Editor and then moved on to be the Editor of two publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.
February 18, 2019

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In Court

Employee crushed to death by bus

A commercial vehicle repair company has been fined and its managing director sentenced after an engineer was killed.

Trolleybus production lineDavid Nelson, an employee of A D Hurst and Son Commercial Limited, was working beneath a single decker bus in a vehicle inspection pit at the company’s site at 35 Baptist Road, Upwell, Cambridge Crown Court was told.

In order to work on the vehicle’s brakes, the rear of the bus had been raised off the ground and was supported on two bottle jacks. The coach fell from the jacks onto the employee, killing him instantly.

The HSE investigation found A D Hurst and Son Commercial Limited failed to plan and organise the lifting of the bus in a manner that ensured the safety of their workers. The coach was inadequately supported, using only two hydraulic bottle jacks. It should have been supported so that it could not have fallen, using axle stands or other appropriate equipment.

A D Hurst and Son Commercial Limited of 35 Baptist Road, Upwell, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and were fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £22,282.54

The Director, Alan Hurst, also of 35 Baptist Road, Upwell, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and received a custodial sentence of six months in prison suspended for 18 months.

Speaking after the hearing, the family of David Nelson said: “Our whole family has been devastated by the loss of our much loved and treasured David, our hearts are broken and our lives changed forever. We hope that this case will help to raise awareness that such tragic incidents and loss of life are totally avoidable and completely unnecessary, so that no other family has to go through the pain and devastation that we have to deal with. David was an amazing person and we miss him every day.”

HSE Inspector Paul Unwin commented: “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a much-loved family man. His death could easily have been prevented if his employer had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and to put a safe system of work in place.

“Employers should make sure that they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous work activities.”

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1 year ago

Crazy to think the company never had a procedure in place to stipulate that employees MUST use axle stands whilst working underneath a vehicle.