Tip Trailer Services fined £500,000 after worker crushed between trucks

Tip Trailer Services has been fined £500,000 plus £56,938 costs after an employee suffered horrific injuries when she was crushed between two trucks.

Warwick Crown Court heard yesterday (16 March 2015) that Jennifer Rose was lucky to be alive after the incident at the operator's Griff Lane depot in Nuneaton on 9 April 2013.

Mrs Rose, 38, who now lives in Hull, broke 13 bones in her back, shoulders and ribs, and punctured a lung. The incident left her with severe head injuries, impaired vision and she required a tracheotomy.

She suffered a cardiac arrest and was in intensive care for 10 days. She needed to wear a body brace for four months and was confined to a wheelchair for several months although has since regained some mobility – although still requiring weekly physiotherapy.

An HSE (Health and Safety Executive) investigation found Rose was acting as a banksman, assisting a truck driver to reverse park on a slope. The driver decoupled his trailer without engaging its parking brake, causing it to roll back and trap her between the two vehicles.

The investigation found TIP Trailer Services regularly allowed vehicles to park on a slope without the provision of chocks or similar devices.

The company had no monitoring system to check whether drivers were applying their handbrakes properly.

HSE points out that the slope ended on a public road, so the risks were not just to pedestrians on site but also to passing pedestrians and drivers.

Tip Trailer Services pleaded guilty to two breaches of Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

"Mrs Rose suffered severe life-changing injuries. Her family was told she would not survive the night but, due to her level of physical fitness and her sheer determination, she has fought back and is now on the road to recovery," said HSE inspector Elizabeth Hornsby, after the hearing.

"It was common practice for drivers to park on a slope within the compound, which should never have been allowed as it was inevitable that, sooner or later, a driver would fail to put on their handbrake," she continued.

"This totally avoidable incident could and should have been prevented with nothing more than common sense."

For information and guidance on how to manage the risks associated with workplace transport, use the link below.

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