Category Archives: Driver Accidents

BP McKeefry Ltd Fined for Failure to Ensure Health and Safety of its Workers

BP McKeefry Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a 26-year-old truck driver from Merseyside was almost fatally injured during an incident where his vehicle hit an 11,000 volt overhead power line as he delivered fertiliser to a farm in Maghull on 14 March 2011. The HSE conducted an investigation following the incident and discovered that the firm’s employees were not adequately trained when it came to the risk management of overhead cables.

The driver, who does not want to be name, had been tipping the fertiliser onto the ground of the farm when the incident happened. He subsequently moved the truck forward, with the trailer still raised, so that the remainder of the fertiliser would be emptied. The corner of the trailer then hit an overhead power line which was about seven metres above the ground.

He then jumped from the truck after hearing popping sounds and then the tires at the side of the truck were set on fire. When he noticed that the truck was touching a cable overhead, he got back in the vehicle to drive it away. The company’s employees should have received proper training that would informed them not to raise trailers unless they were more than ten metres away from a power line. The driver also should have known not to get back into his truck.

BP McKeefry was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to violating the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE Inspector Imran Siddiqui stated –

“The worker was lucky not to be killed when his vehicle struck an overhead power cable, especially when he later jumped back into the vehicle while it was still in contact with the line.

“BP McKeefry specialises in transporting liquid and powder products, such as fertiliser, and so is used to delivering to farms where there may be overhead power lines.

“Despite this, the company failed to provide its employees with a suitable procedure for working near overhead cables, or guidance on what to do if they struck one.”


Engineering Firm Fined after Worker is Impaled

Henry Williams Group Limited, Darlington engineering firm, was today ordered to pay fines of £8,000 and costs of £7,424.80 by Darlington Magistrates’ Court for an incident where a 42 year old delivery driver was injured severely because of a steel bar penetrating his chest on 19 August 2008. The incident occurred when Jason Ripley, from Darlington, was delivering timber to the company in the town’s Dodsworth Street.

An employee of Henry Williams Group Limited had left open a horizontal swing barrier on the site – which was made up of a six metre long, 60mm diameter steel tube – so that Mr Ripley would have easy access to the unloading point. He then reversed his lorry through the open barrier so that timber on the left side could be unloaded. He then intended to drive back past the gate to turn the vehicle around and return to unload goods from the other side.

However, the view of the open barrier had been obscured and he did not realise that the horizontal bar had partially swung back into the carriage way. The bar subsequently hit the bonnet, broke through the windscreen of the lorry and impaled Mr Ripley through the chest.

The tube went through the right side of his chest, smashed three ribs and caused one of his lungs to be damaged. The pole caused a 3-4 inch diameter exit wound in his back. Mr Ripley was airlifted to hospital with part of the barrier still embedded in his chest after he was cut free by fire fighters. He was unable to work for ten weeks however he has no fully recovered from his injuries.

The investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Henry Williams Group Ltd had had not adequately assessed the risks involved with vehicles driving on and off the site in addition to the fact that there was no way of keeping the swing barrier in the open position securely.

HSE Inspector Jonathan Wills stated –

“Mr Ripley was in an horrific incident and the real tragedy is this incident could have so easily been avoided. If the barrier had been secured when it was opened, it would not have been left in such a way that the driver was unable to see it.

“Every year a significant number of people are killed in incidents involving vehicles in the workplace and many more people are injured.

“Better planning, training and awareness and the appropriate use of vehicles would avoid many of these incidents and this case should act as a timely reminder to companies of the need to assess the significant risks associated with the movement of vehicles on site.”