Courier fined £150,000 after a man has his head crushed between a lorry and a brick wall

Tuffnells Parcels Express has been fined £150,000 and must pay £19,000 court costs after an employee was seriously injured by a reversing lorry at their depot in West Horndon, Essex.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Tuffnells for not having assessed, controlled, or properly managed the risks arising from vehicle and equipment movements at it’s depot.  Tuffnels also failed to provide safe system work for it’s employees.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that during a nightshift on 23rd March 2010, Simon Mason, 22, from Romford was working as a warehouse porter.  A 45ft articulated HGV trailer was being reversed into an unloading bay ready for him to unload it.

Realising the trailer was not positioned straight in the loading bay and thinking the trailer had stopped, Mr Mason put his head around the back of the trailer to shout instructions to the driver.  Just as he did, the trailer moved again and crushed his skull against a brick wall.

Mr Mason suffered serious head injuries and required constant care for months following several operations.   He returned to work in February of this year but is still suffering from long term effects from the accident.

HSE Inspector, Glyn Davies, commented: “Working with moving vehicles is a high risk activity which causes significant numbers of major and fatal injuries every year in this country. Tuffnells is well aware of these risks and this horrific incident in which a young man could have lost his life would have been avoided had the company’s senior management ensured such risks were properly managed in all of its depots.”

“The company could have put in place a physical separation between the porters, moving vehicles and the loading bays and a safe way for porters and drivers to communicate with each other. None of these measures were evident and so a worker was seriously hurt for no good reason.”

Tuffnells, whose head office is in Sheffield, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £150,000 with court costs of £19,000.

Do you have sufficient insurance to cover you in the event of an accident?  Call InsureCourier on 0333 202 3172 for expert advice and support.

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