Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
July 13, 2009

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Huge fine for fatality a warning to other warehouse and logistics operators

A logistics company has been fined £133,000 after a member of the public was crushed to death by a faulty lorry on its premises.

David West, 59, was waiting to collect a parcel at the Concorde Logistics warehouse in Bradville, Milton Keynes, in November 2006, Aylesbury Crown Court heard on 13 July. A vehicle being driven into the rear yard of the warehouse stopped suddenly owing to a fault, and its driver got out of his cab to investigate.

The court heard that the fault caused the braking system of the vehicle to temporarily lock the brakes but then released them after the driver went to report the problem. The unoccupied lorry rolled over Mr West, causing fatal injuries.

Unitrans Ltd, trading as Concorde Logistics Ltd, pleaded guilty at an earlier magistrates’ hearing in February to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the HSWA by failing to safeguard workers and non-employees on its premises. It was fined £66,500 for each offence and ordered to pay the full £19,686 prosecution costs of Milton Keynes Council, which brought the case.

In sentencing, the judge took into account the company’s early guilty plea, and its full cooperation with the investigation throughout. Consequently, the fine was reduced by a third. Concorde Logistics has since made major improvements to health and safety at the premises, following the detailed investigation service of legal notices by environmental health officers from Milton Keynes Council.

These changes included introducing dedicated, delineated pedestrian walkways, and clearly marked out ‘no go’ areas for vehicles, as well as tighter controls over vehicle movements in the rear yard. Concorde Logistics and that was taken into account by the judge in issuing the level of fine.

Judge Christopher Tyrer said the accident was “a needless loss of life and one that was entirely preventable”, and that any fine should be expected to “hurt and concentrate the minds of those with legal obligations”. He concluded that the potential for this type of accident “was not unforeseen, as there were warnings given to this company at this site over a number of years”.

Senior EHO Matthew Barnes, who led the investigation, said: “This was a tragic accident, which the judge recognised could clearly have been avoided, and this was wholly reflected in the level of fine. We hope this sends a message out to companies that they must take the health and safety of their employees, or indeed anyone who visits their premises, very seriously indeed.

“Other companies operating similar warehousing premises need to ensure they have robust risk assessments for ensuring pedestrians and vehicles can circulate safely; enforced systems of control for vehicle movements; information, instruction and training provided for employees and site visitors on these systems; and appropriate and planned use of loading bays for goods collection.”

The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!

The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments