HSE issues Ministry of Defence with Crown Censure

The Health and Safety Executive has issued a Crown Censure to The Ministry of Defence (MoD) after an agency driver was fatally injured by a reversing vehicle. Mr Graham Wood, of Oxfordshire was crushed between a reversing lorry and a stationary vehicle on 19th November 2013, while delivering goods to an MoD site in Warwickshire.

Following the incident, HSE conducted a thorough investigation and found that the MoD failed to ensure a safe system of work and exposed their employees and those not directly employed by MoD, to risks to their health, safety and welfare. This is a direct breach of Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

After delivering the Crown Censure, Jane Lassey, HSE’s Deputy Director of Field Operations said:

“The risks arising from vehicle movements are well known and suitable measures required to reduce these risks are understood.“ Like any other employer, the MoD has a responsibility to reduce dangers to agency workers, as well as their own employees, on their sites as far as they properly can, and in this case they failed Graham Wood.”

Due to its Crown status the MoD cannot be prosecuted for breaching health and safety legislation. But it must still comply with its responsibilities as an
employer under the legislation.

A Crown Censure is the maximum sanction the HSE can bring, and it is issued when, but for Crown Immunity, there would have been sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in the courts. There is no financial penalty associated with the Censure but, once it is accepted, it is an official record of the Crown body’s failure to comply with the standards set out in law.

The MoD has accepted the censure and has introduced a safe system of work including parking bays and defined walkways for pedestrians.

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