Tipper death an avoidable tragedy says HSE

Daniel Hilbourne, inspector with the Health and Safety Executive, has warned business against complacency after a haulier was fined for safety failings which led to the death of an employee.

Reading Magistrates Court heard how Brian Gutteridge, 67,from Caversham suffered fatal injuries at J Mould at Burghfield Bridge, near Reading, on 9 November, 2010.

He was struck by a 32-tonne tipper lorry as he crossed a road at his employer’s main office. John Mould, in his capacity as a sole trader, was fined a total of £40,000 and told to pay £17,060 costs.

Speaking after sentencing, HSE inspector Mr Hilbourne said the case underscored the need for good workplace transport risk assessments.

“John Mould has operated from the Burghfield Bridge site for more than 20 years, but had failed to properly manage workplace transport prior to Brian’s tragic death”, he said.

“This is a well-recognised area of risk in the industry, especially on a site where there are numerous vehicle movements.

“There was a clear need for a formal traffic management system, including a designated pedestrian crossing, pedestrian walkways, a speed restriction and a strict rule to wear hi-visibility clothing at all times.

‘Be wary of complacency’

Mr Hilbourne said that had vehicle-pedestrian interactions been “better controlled and managed then Brian would not have been killed”.

“It demonstrates”, he added, “the need for proper risk assessments, to undertake regular reviews and to be wary of complacency.”

John Mould pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Workplace Regulations 1992 in his capacity as a sole trader.

Mr Gutteridge had been employed by business proprietor John Mould for more than 20 years, and was walking toward his car at the end of the working day.

The tipper lorry that hit him had pulled over to the side of the road so the driver could talk to another worker, but it pulled back out just as he stepped in front of the vehicle to walk past.

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