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Companies in court over pallets injuring delivery driver

Two companies have appeared in court after falling pallets caused a delivery driver to suffer a fracture to one of his neck vertebrae.

Brighouse Pallet Services Ltd and Seal It Services Ltd came before Leeds Magistrates’ Court in recent days.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that on August 5th, 2020, the delivery driver, an employee of Brighouse Pallet Services Ltd, was struck by one or two falling pallets whilst they were being unloaded from a HGV trailer by a Seal It Services Ltd fork-lift truck (FLT) operator at the latter company’s site at Elland.

Investigation and court 

A HSE-led investigation found that both companies failed in their duty to provide a safe system of work.

Furthermore, they failed to implement “simple” control measures to ensure that all delivery drivers, who visited the Seal It Services Ltd site, could move to safe locations for waiting whilst FLTs were unloading HGV trailers.

Brighouse Pallet Services Ltd of Elland Road, Brighouse, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The judge ordered the company to pay a fine of £4,000 and £4806.60 in costs.

Seal It Services Ltd. of Riverbank Way, Elland, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The judge handed a fine of £50,000 to this company and ordered it to pay £4,654.90 in costs.

Preventable incidents

After the court hearing, HSE inspector David Welsh said:

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by implementing the simple control measure of keeping the delivery driver out of the area where the FLT was operating to maintain a safe system of work.”

He highlighted that loading and unloading of HGVs by FLTs are among “the most dangerous” transport activities in the workplace.

Furthermore, he said that people can be hit by falling objects, struck by FLTs, or fall from vehicles.

“All such incidents can result in serious personal injury. All those who have legal duties for the safety of delivery drivers, both their employer and the sites they deliver to, must manage the risks.”

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