18th June 2008


 Issue No.  2008/13




A Warwick-based manufacturer of refuse collection vehicles was fined £166,000 with costs of £22,612 at Stafford Crown Court, earlier this month.
A field service engineer for the company was fatally injured whilst working on a refuse vehicle. The vehicle had been reported to have an intermittent problem with the parking brake sticking on, when it should have released.
The service engineer was working under the vehicle, using wheel chocks that were inadequate, when the parking brake released and the vehicle moved forwards over him.
The Company had failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment resulting in inadequate information and instruction on how to proceed safely in this situation and in other varying conditions faced by field service engineers. Supervision of the company’s field service engineers was also found to be inadequate.
No chocks had been provided to allow employees to work safely under vehicles resulting in the service engineer improvising by using two pieces of brick as an alternative which unfortunately, proved fatal.
Whilst the service engineer was a very experienced and competent engineer, who was working logically to solve a problem, this case acts as a reminder of the importance of not leaving workers to their own devices.
It also acts as a reminder of the importance of carrying out Risk Assessments and having safe systems of work in place.





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