Two companies have been ordered to pay nearly £800,000 in fines and costs after a driver was run over and killed by his own lorry.
Father-of-three Gary Walters, 51, was working for Gloucester-based contract haulier Larkins Logistics Ltd when the fatal incident occurred.
He was collecting a trailer loaded with structural concrete products from Bison Manufacturing Ltd in William Nadine Way, Swadlincote, Derbyshire.
He failed to apply the brake in his cab and, because Bison’s drivers had not applied the brake to the trailer, the vehicle moved off as he was coupling the two parts together.
Mr Walters, of The Street, Crowmarsh, Oxfordshire, is believed to have gone round the front of the vehicle, possibly in an attempt to get into the cab and apply the brakes, but he was struck by the cab and run over. He died of multiple injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that drivers working for Bison did not routinely apply the trailer brakes to ensure the units were safely parked.
Following a trial at Derby Crown Court, Larkins Logistics Ltd, of Dobbs Hill Farm, Staunton, Gloucester, was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and fined £350,000 for the Section 2(1) offence, £100,000 for the Section 3(1) offence and ordered to pay full costs of £23,317.
Bison Manufacturing Ltd, of Bridge Place, Anchor Boulevard, Admirals Park, Crossways, Dartford, Kent, admitted the same charges and was fined £233,000 for the Section 2(1) offence, £67,000 for the Section 3(1) offence and ordered to pay full costs of £21,341.
After the hearing HSE inspector Judith McNulty-Green said: “This was not an isolated incident – sadly there are deaths and serious injuries to drivers every year in similar circumstances. It happened out of poor practice and was entirely preventable.
“Bison Manufacturing Ltd failed to implement a safe system of work for the storage of trailers with the brakes applied. They and Larkins Logistics Ltd also failed to implement and monitor working procedures for coupling and uncoupling trailers in the yard, and they failed to do it despite previous incidents.
“Had they done so they would have realised trailer brakes were routinely not being applied, taken appropriate action and a man would not have lost his life so needlessly.”