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Transport company fined £5000 after employee fatally crushed

Reason Transport UK Limited, which is now in liquidation has been fined £5000 after a worker was fatally injured when the pallet of stone tiles he was attempting to deliver fell onto him.

High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 23 November 2016, an agency driver was carrying out a delivery for Reason Transport UK Limited at Fraser Road, High Wycombe. 

The driver was delivering a pallet of stone tiles using a tail-lift and a manual pallet truck, where he spent several minutes struggling to lift and manoeuvre the pallet onto the truck’s tail-lift. When he eventually succeeded in doing so, he lost control of the pallet, which fell onto him, causing him to suffer fatal crush injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the weight of the pallet was recorded as 1,200 kg but the actual weight of the pallet was in excess of 1,400 kg. 

The pallet was therefore in excess of the 1,000 kg weight limit set by the pallet network for tail-lift deliveries. The investigation also found that the driver had worked for the company for two weeks and had not received any training for the safe delivery of pallets using a tail-lift.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and have been fined £5,000.

After the hearing HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the host company to provide training to this agency worker on the safe delivery of pallets from a vehicle with a tail-lift.”

A representative from Reason Transport UK Limited told Logistics Today: “The fine announced relates to Oxfordshire-based Reason Transport UK Ltd, which ceased trading in 2017 due to issues with the viability and scale of the delivery areas within the Palletways network.

This tragic accident was due to the industry-wide issue of inaccurate labelling of pallet weights, leading to the handling of an overweight pallet. Our thoughts are with the driver’s family and we fully support industry wide efforts to ensure that pallet weights are limited and accurately reported throughout the delivery process to protect all drivers in the UK.”

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