27th February 2019
A distribution company based in Warrington has today been sentenced after an agency worker sustained serious, life-changing injuries whilst working in Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Magistrate’s Court heard how, on 18 May 2017, a 27-year-old agency worker arrived at the Gloucester depot to begin his first day of work with the company as a multi-drop delivery driver. After a brief induction process, the worker delivered his first drop successfully however the address provided for the second drop was incorrect and therefore a delivery of 12 beer kegs was not made.
When on his next delivery, the worker used a pallet truck to manoeuvre the beer on the lorry to gain access to the next load on his list. He fell backwards from the raised tail lift onto the road and several kegs of beer fell and struck him. The worker suffered serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury and facial fractures requiring metal plates to be inserted into his skull.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the worker had no previous experience in using the type of pallet truck or tail lift involved in the incident. He was not given any practical training in the safe use of this machinery, nor was he made aware of safe working practices on how the pallet truck should be used on a tail lift. H & M Distribution Limited, as an employer, failed in its duty to carry out checks on the injured person’s competence and previous experience. As a consequence of their failure to make these checks, they did not provide adequate training.
H & M Distribution Limited of Newton Le Willows, Warrington pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. it has been fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,203.14.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Berenice Ray said: “Employers who use agency workers or contractors have a responsibility to firstly establish the workers’ competence, taking into account their level of experience and familiarity with the work and work equipment, and then provide the appropriate level of training to ensure the work is done safely. If appropriate training had been provided, the life-changing injuries sustained by the agency worker could have been prevented.”