JCB and DHL fined after 770kg load crushes worker

Belinda Liversedge
British Safety Council
09 May 2017
JCB World Headquarters. Photograph: Matt Harrop / Creative Commons

A court heard how a worker has ‘still not recovered’ from his serious injuries sustained nearly four years ago when falling machinery crushed him at JCB World in Rocester, Staffordshire.

Digger giant JCB and its subcontractor DHL - the logistics firm which employed the injured auditor - were fined a total of £641,000 after an unstable load weighing 770kg and its carrier toppled onto him, leaving him with multiple injuries.

Stafford Crown Court heard the auditor had been checking incoming deliveries in an outside yard at the multinational’s headquarters when the incident happened on 16 October 2013.

They were told how an electric tug contraption carrying heavy machinery around the yard, knocked into the back of the worker sending its load of hydraulic rams – heavy water pumps – and other materials toppling onto him.

A trolley also being towed fell on its side and trapped him between it and a stillage.

The worker suffered multiple serious injuries including fractures and internal injuries.

HSE’s investigation into the incident found there were a number of safety failures both with the auditing activity and the segregation between employees and vehicles using the area, leading to an unsafe system of work.

It found other workers had also been at risk because JCB employees were accessing the area as pedestrians when vehicles were operating.

DHL Services Limited, of Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £266,000 and ordered to pay costs of £23,370.22.

J C Bamford Excavators Limited, of Lakeside Works, Rocester, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £375,000 and ordered to pay costs of £37,235.42.

Investigating HSE Inspector David Brassington said after the hearing: “The dangers of failing to provide effective segregation between pedestrians and vehicles are well known. Both of these companies were well versed in transport risk management and both fell well below the required standard in ensuring that such risks were effectively managed in this area.”

“These failings allowed a pedestrian worker into a busy area where vehicles were coming and going and as a result the worker sustained serious injuries from which he has still not recovered.”