Two companies have between them been fined more than £600,000, after health and safety breaches left a delivery worker with serious multiple injuries.
Stafford Crown Court was told how an employee of DHL Services Limited (DHL) was auditing in-coming deliveries of equipment in an outside yard at JCB World Headquarters when he was struck from behind by falling machinery.
At the time of the incident the machinery was being towed on a trolley by an electric tug and weighed around 770 kilos. The trolley toppled onto its side trapping the DHL employee who suffered multiple fractures and internal injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which happened back in 2013, found there were a number of safety failures, including failings in the way that employees and vehicles using the area were segregated, which in turn led to an unsafe system of work.
DHL pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £266,000 plus costs.
JCB also pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations and was fined £375,000 plus costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David Brassington said: “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.”
Lara Murray an Associate with Palmers, who specialises in health and safety legal matters, said: “The hefty fines handed out by the court reflect the severity of these health and safety breaches.
“Both DHL and JCB should have been well aware of the risks posed but failed in their duties to protect the delivery worker from harm.
“Businesses that need to move heavy loads during the course of their activities should learn from this case and ensure that their employees are properly protected.”