Ronald Wood, a 59 year old driver for a Montracon factory in East Yorkshire, died following an incident where a six-metre steel machine was dislodged from overhead brackets and landed on top of him. The steel vacuum lifter, which weighed two thirds of a tonne, struck Mr Wood, who was from Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, after a trailer that was being towed from the factory knocked it from its mountings. An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the fatal accident found several safety failures at the Montracon premises.
At the time of the accident, Mr Wood had been stood beneath the steel lifter with a co-worker when the large trailer that was being towed out of the factory knocked off the brackets which had been keeping the machine in place. This impact dislodged it and it fell and landed on top of Mr Wood. His co-worker was able to get away with only a minor injury. Mr Wood died in hospital died in hospital later that day.
Montracon Ltd of South Yorkshire was fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay £33,030 in costs by Hull Crown Court after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to two violations of Health and Safety legislation.
Following the hearing, the investigating HSE inspector, Steven Kay said that basic safety failings had led to a tragic and unnecessary death. He went on to say that if Montracon had adequately controlled the movement of the trailers in the area of the workshop, then they would have realised the safety risks, however it had failed to do this. Mr Kay then stated –
“Work changes had also taken place in the factory which should have led the firm to re-think the risks, but it did not. Whenever work activity changes, then risks must be reassessed.
“Montracon also failed to follow up several minor incidents which, had they been investigated, could have led to action to prevent this tragedy. All employers need to have a system to record near misses and investigate them. The resulting information could prevent loss of life.”