Three companies have been given six-figure fines after a driver was crushed between a reversing HGV and a forklift truck in a warehouse beside Heathrow Airport.
An employee of Davies Turner Air Cargo Limited was collecting a consignment from Airworld Airlines Ltd’s site at the X2 Hatton Cross Centre, which is alongside the airport, in August 2017.
A vehicle, operated by Saints Transport Limited, which was collecting a consignment from Unilode Aviation Solutions UK Limited, also based at the X2 Hatton Cross Centre, reversed causing the employee to become crushed between the rear of the vehicle and the forklift truck, resulting in serious injuries.
The X2 Hatton Cross Centre is owned by Brixton (Hatton Cross) 1 Limited and is managed by Segro Administration Limited.
HSE visited the X2 Hatton Cross Centre and an investigation found the site layout did not segregate those working or visiting the site, so far as reasonably practicable, from being struck by moving vehicles.
None of the defendants had taken responsibility for managing traffic. Neither did they communicate, co-operate or co-ordinate with one another.
Segro Administration Limited, of New Burlington Place, London pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 Section 3(1). Airworld Airlines Ltd, of High Street, Sunninghill, Ascot, and Unilode Aviation Solutions UK Limited, of Hatton Cross Centre, Heathrow, Middlesex, both pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 Sections 2(1) and 3(1).
Segro Administration Limited was fined £320,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,584, Airworld Airlines Ltd was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,605, and Unilode Aviation Solutions UK Limited was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,878 at Southwark Crown Court on 1 November 2022.
Following the guilty pleas, the prosecution reconsidered the charges laid against Brixton (Hatton Cross) 1 Limited, Saints Transport Limited and Davies Turner Air Cargo Limited, and determined that it was no longer in the public interest to continue with their cases. The prosecution offered no evidence, and these defendants were found not guilty.
Speaking after the case, HM Acting Principal Inspector Sarah Pearce said: “This incident was entirely avoidable. Workplace transport incidents fatally injure 50 workers in Great Britain a year, with 5,000 other incidents resulting in serious personal injury.
“Where reasonably practicable, reversing manoeuvres should be avoided and pedestrians and moving vehicles segregated.
“Where businesses share a workplace, as in this case, they should ensure that there are systems in place for sufficient communication, co-operation and co-ordination so that others are aware of the risks arising from their undertaking.”
Notes to editors
- 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. gov.uk
- More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: legislation.gov.uk
- HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
- Further information about workplace transport arrangements can be found here: Vehicle and transport safety at work (hse.gov.uk)
- Further information on shared workplace duties can be found here: Multi-occupancy workplaces (hse.gov.uk)