The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been issued with a Crown Censure by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an agency driver, working for the MoD, was fatally injured by a reversing vehicle.
Mr Graham Wood, 55, of Bicester, Oxfordshire, was crushed between a reversing lorry and a stationary vehicle on the evening of 19 November 2013. Mr Wood and a colleague were delivering goods to a large holding area in MoD Kineton, Southam, Warwickshire.
The HSE investigation found the MoD failed to assess the risks created by the movement of large vehicles in the area. They failed to ensure a safe system of work was in place to identify and control the risks presented by the movement of large vehicles in this area.
Following the incident, a safe system of work including marked parking bays, well defined walkways for pedestrians and a one way system has been introduced.
After delivering the Crown Censure, Jane Lassey, HSE’s deputy director of field operations said: “The risks arising from vehicle movements are well known and suitable measures required to reduce these risks are understood.
“Like any other employer, the MoD has a responsibility to reduce dangers to agency workers, as well as their own employees, on their sites as far as they properly can, and in this case they failed Graham Wood.”
By accepting the Crown Censure, the MoD admitted breaching its duty under Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in that they exposed their employees and those not directly employed by MoD, to risks to their health, safety and welfare. Those risks manifested themselves in a lack of a safe system of work.
Notes to Editors:
- The breaches of law the Censure is being issued over are: Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which state that: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees” and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which states “it shall be the duty of every employer to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in its employment who may be affected thereby are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.”
- The MoD cannot face prosecution in the same way as non-Government bodies and a Crown Censure is the maximum sanction for a government body that HSE can bring. There is no financial penalty associated with Crown Censure, but once accepted is an official record of a failing to meet the standards set out in law.
- More information on Crown Censures can be found here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/enforcementguide/investigation/approving-enforcement.htm 
- The Code for Crown Prosecutors  sets out the principles for prosecutors to follow when they make enforcement decisions. HSE’s approach to Crown Censure is set out in its enforcement policy statement.