Poor safety puts vehicle recovery firm in court

A vehicle recovery firm in Hull has been fined £5,000 with £3,760 costs after a technician suffered serious back injuries when a seven-tonne truck fell from a jack and trapped him underneath.
Hull Magistrates heard that the 22-year-old fractured two vertebrae in the incident at ABR Rescue's workshop in Grindell Street on 1 June 2012 and was unable to return to work for three months. HSE (the Health and Safety Executive), which investigated, told the court that the technician was fitting a brake chamber to the HGV. Its rear nearside wheels had been removed and the vehicle was being supported by a single hydraulic jack standing on a block of wood. Another employee was working in the lorry's cab and when he started the engine, the LGV rolled off, trapping the mechanic. Investigators said the LGV should have been supported using axle stands, and the remaining wheels should have been chocked to prevent it from moving. HSE told the court that the firm had badly neglected the safety of its employees, by failing to provide safe working methods or to address the risks associated with working beneath vehicles. "Jacks are for lifting, not support, and in these circumstances it was entirely foreseeable that, when the engine was started, the vehicle would fall," comments HSE Inspector Dr Nicholas Tosney. "Because ABR Rescue had not looked properly at the risks of the job, they had not identified the measures needed to control those risks," he continues. "However, the precautions that should be taken are well-known in the industry and if the company had fulfilled its duty of care, then a young worker would have been spared a serious injury."

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