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Two yard-based fatal road traffic accidents (UK HSE)

Incident 1: Worker fatally crushed between two articulated vehicles

What happened

The UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted a road haulage firm after an employee was crushed between two articulated vehicles and subsequently died from his injuries. A driver suffered fatal injuries when his vehicle rolled forward out of control whilst he was coupling the HGV (heavy goods vehicle) tractor unit to a trailer. See for original press release.

What went wrong/causes

UK HSE investigation found that the company had failed to implement safe systems of work or monitoring arrangements to ensure that its drivers were consistently undertaking coupling and uncoupling operations safely, in line with widely available industry guidance. As a result of this, a culture developed whereby its drivers were not always applying trailer parking brakes.

Incident 2: Worker died after being struck by a reversing telehandler

A worker was struck by a reversing telehandler when crossing the work yard. The worker sustained multiple injuries and later died in hospital. See for original press release.

What went wrong/causes

UK HSE investigation found that:

  • The company had failed to address the management of large vehicle movements on its site;
  • The company had not carried out an on-site health and safety inspection;
  • The driver of the telehandler involved in the incident had not received any training in operating this vehicle.

The HSE inspector noted:

This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company and its director to take simple steps. Vehicle movements…were not controlled even at a basic level at this company’s site. The company failed to have adequate pedestrian segregation measures such as walkways or crossing points in areas where pedestrians walked routinely. Reversing of large vehicles near to pedestrians was commonplace. This was a dangerous mix which led to this tragic incident.

Lessons learnt/actions taken

IMCA has highlighted these incidents to members for three reasons:

  • Owing to the importance of safe traffic management in goods yards, shipyards and on docksides;
  • Many members employ haulage companies as sub-contractors;
  • As a timely reminder about workplace safety culture: “… a culture developed whereby its drivers were not…” particularly in sub-contractors or further down the supply chain.

Members may wish to refer to the following incidents

Safety Event

Published: 7 November 2017
Download: IMCA SF 28/17

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