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April 25, 2012

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HGV ran over worker at congested site

A worker at a packaging manufacturer suffered life-changing injuries when he was dragged along a road underneath the wheels of a heavy-goods vehicle (HGV).

Pete Newsum, 55, was working as a forklift driver at The Corrugated Case Company Ltd’s facility in Danesmoor, Chesterfield, when the incident took place on 14 December 2010. After finishing his lunch break he returned to the site, which was congested with vehicles that had been prevented from undertaking deliveries and collections owing to a period of bad weather.

As he approached the yard, he noticed a HGV reversing to allow another vehicle to move, so he stood on the kerb and waited until the HGV had manoeuvred past him. Expecting it to continue reversing, he stepped in front of the vehicle, but it stopped and began moving forwards. Mr Newsum was knocked to the ground and dragged underneath the vehicle’s wheels.

A member of the public spotted the worker’s high-visibility jacket underneath the wheels and alerted the driver to stop. Mr Newsum was pulled free and taken to hospital, where he needed to be resuscitated on two occasions. He also received treatment for damage to his lower spine and shoulder, fractures to his pelvis, ribs and leg, and cuts to the head. He has been unable to return to work owing to his injuries and still suffers post-traumatic epilepsy, breathing difficulties, and has reduced mobility.

The HSE’s investigation found the company had failed to implement safe workplace transport procedures at the site. There was no enforced speed limit and no measures in place to separate pedestrians and vehicles. Inspector Fiona Coffey explained: “On the day of the incident, the site was congested with unusually high levels of traffic, yet there were no pedestrian-crossing points, speed restrictions, mirrors or signage, or any other means of segregating pedestrians and vehicles.

“The company had been visited by HSE six months prior to the incident and had been given verbal instruction on how to better control workplace transport, which a director and the health and safety manager had agreed to. As a result of the company’s failure to implement this guidance, their employee suffered painful and life-changing injuries.”

The Corrugated Case Company appeared at North East Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on 18 April and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.17(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and reg.3(1)(a) of the MHSWR 1999. It was fined a total of £8000 and ordered to pay costs of £7435.

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12 years ago

Had they been issued enforcement at the earlier date, maybe this would have been avoided?

Given they were advised previously and the extent of the poor traffic management indicated above, the fine seems low?