PPR Transport Services fined following technician’s death

The owner of transport firm PPR Transport Services, based in Lutterworth, has been fined £12,000 with £43,000 costs for safety failings after a technician was killed while jacking-up a double-decker semi-trailer.

The court heard that Mark Wintersgill, 25, of Broughton Astley, Leicester, was attempting to jack up an axle, on 25 June 2012, when the jack separated from the axle and struck him. He died at the scene of catastrophic head injuries.

PPR Transport Services owner Paul Anthony Roberts, also of Lutterworth, was prosecuted by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) after an investigation found that the operation was poorly planned and managed.

Leicester Crown Court heard that Wintersgill was jacking the semi-trailer on a set of concrete ramps, which meant its landing legs were below the level of the rear axles. This may have encouraged the unit to rock forward when jacking began.

The technician was also using an air jack and is thought to have put two wooden blocks on top of the jack to achieve a higher lift. This may have further destabilised the equipment and separated, causing the jack to jump.

The court was told that Wintersgill should not have been under a vehicle being lifted until it was fully supported by appropriate chassis or axle stands.

Paul Anthony Roberts, 51, of Lutterworth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety of Work etc Act 1974 for failing to protect his employees.

"This was a tragic incident that could have been prevented had a few basic precautions been taken," comments HSE inspector David Lefever.

"Mr Roberts should have ensured that this regular work activity was carried out in a safe location on firm, level ground. He should also have ensured his employees were supplied with the correct equipment and that they were trained in how to use that equipment safely," he continues.

"He should have monitored how employees were carrying out this task and stopped the routine use of wooden blocks, which was a highly dangerous practice. He should also have ensured his employees followed a safe system of work.

"He failed to do any of that and as a result a young man paid with his life."

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