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Three Companies Prosecuted by HSE after Worker Dies

Three separate companies have been prosecuted for safety failings following an incident in which a concrete slab fell from a lorry, killing a worker.

Incident

In January 2011, an employee of Punchards Haulage Limited (Punchards), Mr Travis Hale, was transporting four concrete panels via lorry to a construction site in Edinburgh.

Two separate companies, VTK Structures Limited (VTK) and Hanson Packed Products Limited (Hanson) were responsible for the design and the manufacture of the four panels respectively.

Mr Hale collected the panels, which had already been loaded onto a trailer, from Hanson’s yard in Derby. At this point, there were three vehicle straps that had been used to secure the panels onto the trailer. These straps had been provided by Hanson.

Not long after beginning the journey, Mr Hale was contacted and asked to ensure the load was secure. Several employees of VTK joined Mr Hale and recommended that he fit more straps onto the panels.

After untying one of the straps already in place, a concrete panel fell off the trailer. It landed on Mr Hale and killed him.

HSE Investigation & Fines

After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was revealed that not enough straps had been used to ensure that the load would not move. According to the HSE, all three of the companies involved should have liaised with each other to ensure that the panels were secured in a safer way.

Punchards Haulage Limited, of Bramshall Industrial Estate, Stone Road, Bramshall, Staffordshire pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £140,000, and ordered to pay costs of £37,016.

VTK Structures Limited, of Mill Bay Lane, Horsham, West Sussex pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £140,000, and ordered to pay costs of £37,016.

Hanson Packed Products Limited (Formerly known as Hanson Building Products Limited), of Hanson House, Castle Hill, Maidenhead, pleaded guilty to an offence under Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined £80,000, and ordered to pay costs of £37,016.

HSE Inspector Stuart Parry said after the meeting:

“Mr Hale was a devoted family man, well known in his local community, and his sudden death impacted on many lives.

“VTK and Punchards should have provided Mr Hale and other drivers with better means of securing panels, such as Toast racks or A frames. They did not do so and this failing led to the tragic death of Mr Hale.”

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Source: Health & Safety Executive

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