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March 18, 2013

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Sole trader in the dock for lorry death

A worker at a demolition company was run over and killed by a tipper lorry at the company’s head office in Reading.

Brian Gutteridge, 67, was crossing a road outside the J Mould (Reading) head office in Burghfield Bridge, when the vehicle struck him on 9 November 2010.

The driver of the tipper lorry had pulled over at the side of the private road, so he could talk to another colleague. He pulled back out just as Mr Gutteridge was crossing the road to get to his car. He was pronounced dead at the scene when the emergency services arrived.

The HSE visited the site and found there were no designated crossing points on the road, and nothing to segregate vehicles and pedestrians. The site rules also didn’t specify whether vehicles or pedestrians had the right of way on the road.

It was also established that John Mould, who owned the business as a sole trader, had not created a formal workplace-transport risk assessment, despite having received advice from an independent health and safety consultant about pedestrian-vehicle interactions at another site in Reading.

HSE inspector Daniel Hilbourne said: “John Mould has operated from the Burghfield Bridge site for more than 20 years, but failed to properly manage workplace transport prior to Brian’s tragic death.

“There was a clear need for a formal traffic management system, including a designated pedestrian crossing, pedestrian walkways, a speed restriction and a strict rule to wear hi-visibility clothing at all times.”

John Mould appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on 14 March and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.3 of MHSWR 1999, and reg.17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, for failing to control traffic at the site. He was fined a total of £40,000 and ordered to pay £17,060 in costs.

In mitigation, Mould said his safety consultant hadn’t properly advised him about traffic at the site. He has subsequently appointed a new consultant, which has led to the creation at the site of a crossing point with lights, and the erection of barriers around pedestrian routes.

After the hearing, inspector Hilbourne added: “Had vehicle-pedestrian interactions been better controlled and managed, then Brian would not have been killed. It demonstrates the need for proper risk assessments, to undertake regular reviews, and to be wary of complacency.”

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10 years ago

green cross code?
Separation of traffic types in the workplace flies in the face of ‘shared space’ traffic management systems being brought in by various local authorities after many succesful years of use in Holland. See Exhibition Road in Kensington for the most famous UK example.

Who’s right?

10 years ago

So,kill someone and get a 50+k fine, but conduct CS work wrong and get a 40+k fine (see boat repair incident). Doesn’t make any sense, especially when this “sole trader” was advised about the risks. Why no heavier fine or prosecution. Demolition contractors have a bad reputation and this incident reinforces the views of many in the H&S field of construction and demolition.
Should have been absolutely hammered by the courts!

10 years ago

‘Blame the consultant’ appears to be flavour of the year. No indication that they were to be prosecuted – unlike the previous recent case involving CoSHH – but a very worrying trend. It really shouldn’t take a consultant to point out the risk of people being hit by lorries, or is it just me?