The Health and Safety Executive has urged drivers of the dangers of missing critical procedures, following a workplace accident that resulted in a worker being crushed by a HGV tractor unit.
In January 2015, Dale Pentney – who was an experienced HGV driver – was connecting his tractor unit to another parked trailer when it rolled backwards. Two employees who were working alongside Mr Pentney were able to move safely out of the way of the vehicle, but he was unable to do so. As a result of the workplace accident, Mr Pentney became trapped between the two vehicles, sustaining fatal head injuries.
An investigation into the accident found that the driver of the vehicle that crushed Mr Pentney was in the process of delivering materials for repairs on the site. The court were told that the driver, Mr Anthony Smith, had failed to follow recognised industry coupling procedures. He pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and being in breach of Section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and received a suspended prison sentence of 12 weeks and disqualified from driving for 12 months.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector, Melvyn Stancliffe, commented “Sadly, this shows how dangerous situations can develop very quickly. These coupling/uncoupling incidents – known as runaways or rollaways – are all too common. Drivers must ensure they correctly apply the tractor unit parking brake before exiting the cab and then follow safe decoupling and coupling procedures.”
The HSE have some helpful guidance for employers and drivers on the safe coupling and uncoupling of vehicles.
Source: Croner-i, Warning to HGV drivers after death of road worker, 1st June 2016. Read the article on Croner-i.