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Three companies fined after worker lost his life

Date:
10 December 2015

Three companies have been fined for safety failings after a concrete panel fell from a lorry and killed a worker.

Derby Crown Court heard how on 11 January 2011 Mr Travis Hale, 45, was employed as a driver by Punchards Haulage Limited (Punchards) to transport a load of four concrete panels from Derby to a construction site in Edinburgh.

The panels had been designed by VTK Structures Limited (VTK) and manufactured by Hanson Packed Products Limited (Hanson).

When Mr Hale arrived to collect the loaded trailer from Hanson’s yard, three vehicle straps supplied by Punchards had been used to secure the load into the trailer.

Shortly after starting his journey Mr Hale was contacted and asked to pull over to check his load. He was joined by employees from VTK (designers of the panels) who advised him to fit more straps.

When Mr Hale undid one of the existing straps, a panel weighing approximately one and a half tonnes fell off the trailer and killed him.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the number of straps over the load were not sufficient to secure it safely for transport. All three companies should have cooperated to ensure that a safer means of securing concrete panels on the trailer were used.

Punchards Haulage Limited, of Bramshall Industrial Estate, Stone Road, Bramshall, Staffordshire were fined a total of £140,000, and ordered to pay costs of £37,016 after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

VTK Structures Limited, of Mill Bay Lane, Horsham, West Sussex were fined a total of £140,000, and ordered to pay costs of £37,016 after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Hanson Packed Products Limited (Formerly known as Hanson Building Products Limited), of Hanson House, Castle Hill, Maidenhead, were fined a total of £80,000, and ordered to pay costs of £37,016 after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Stuart Parry said: “Mr Hale was a devoted family man, well known in his local community, and his sudden death impacted on many lives.

“VTK and Punchards should have provided Mr Hale and other drivers with better means of securing panels, such as Toast racks or A frames. They did not do so and this failing led to the tragic death of Mr Hale.”

For more information about securing loads visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/vehicles/securingloads.htm and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/load-securing-vehicle-operator-guidance/load-securing-vehicle-operator-guidance

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/ 
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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