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Carbon parts company fined over lorry driver’s death

Date:
17 January 2014

A lorry driver was crushed and killed by heavy graphite parts after being allowed to unload his vehicle in a dangerous manner, a court has heard.

Ahmet Yakar, 52, was struck by parts weighing up to a quarter-of-a-tonne each in the fatal incident at Morganite Electrical Carbon Ltd at Upper Fforest Way, Swansea, on 19 July 2011.

The company was prosecuted today (17 January) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), for failing to ensure an unloading operation was properly and safely managed.

Swansea Crown Court was told that Mr Yakar, a Turkish national who did not speak English, was reluctant to open up the sides of his curtain-sided lorry as he arrived to make a delivery at Morganite.

Instead, he was supplied with a hand operated pallet truck to move the boxes to the back of the lorry, where they were transferred to a forklift truck.

During the operation, the boxes – at the time stacked four high – became unstable and the top box toppled and knocked him off the lorry. The next box toppled onto him as he lay on the floor. Despite efforts to free and revive him, he died at the scene.

HSE’s investigation found that Morganite did not have safe working procedures for receiving and unloading delivery vehicles and did not carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for unloading at the site. The company also had no set policy for dealing with drivers who did not speak English.

Morganite Electrical Carbon Ltd, of Upper Fforest Way, Swansea, was fined a total of £120,000 and ordered to pay a further £16,021 in costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Steve Lewis, said:

“This tragic incident could have been avoided had Morganite carried out a proper risk assessment of the unloading procedure and insisted Mr Yakar open the curtain sides to the truck instead of unloading from the rear of the vehicle.

“The company failed to provide their employees with suitable instructions and safe systems of work for accepting lorry deliveries to site. They should have taken responsibility for the driver’s safety and the delivery and unloading operation.

“Mr Yakar and his family in Turkey have paid the ultimate price for Morganite’s carelessness in this regard.”

Further information about safe loading and unloading of vehicles can be found on the HSE website at  http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/factsheets/loading.htm

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace  health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It  does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or  revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority  partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
  3. Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: “Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking.”
  4. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.

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