Stafford Crown Court heard how a DHL employee was auditing incoming deliveries of equipment in a yard at the JCB factory when he was struck from behind by falling machinery.
The trolley, carrying hydraulic rams, was being towed by an electric tug when it toppled on its side, trapping the man between the 770kg load and a stillage. He suffered multiple serious injuries including fractures and internal injuries.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on 16th October 2013, found a number of safety failures related to this auditing activity and the segregation between employees and vehicles using this area, leading to an unsafe system of work. The investigation revealed that JCB employees also walked around this area when vehicles were operating.
DHL Services Limited, of Midsummer Boulevard, Central, Milton Keynes, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £266,000 and ordered to pay costs of £23,370.22.
JC Bamford Excavators Limited, of Lakeside Works, Rocester, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £375,000 and ordered to pay costs of £37,235.42.
HSE inspector David Brassington said after the hearing: “The dangers of failing to provide effective segregation between pedestrians and vehicles are well known. Both of these companies were well versed in transport risk management and both fell well below the required standard in ensuring that such risks were effectively managed in this area.
“These failings allowed a pedestrian worker into a busy area where vehicles were coming and going and as a result the worker sustained serious injuries from which he has still not recovered.”