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Firm prosecuted after lorry driver’s fatal work accident (21 January 2014)

Date: 21/01/2014
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Firm prosecuted after lorry driver’s fatal work accident

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has successfully prosecuted a firm after a lorry driver died unloading his vehicle at Morganite Electrical Carbon Ltd in Swansea.

Swansea Crown Court heard that Ahmet Yakar, 52, was a Turkish national who did not speak English.

He was unloading graphite parts weighing up to a quarter-of-a-tonne each at the site of Morganite Electrical Carbon Ltd on 19 July 2011, when he was struck by one of the boxes containing the parts after he fell from the lorry.

The court heard that Mr Yakar was reluctant to open up the side of his lorry – which was curtained – to unload the components and was instead allowed to use a hand-operated pallet truck to move the boxes to the back of the lorry, where they were transferred to a fork-lift truck.

The boxes were stacked four at a time and during the unloading operation they became unstable, the court was told. A box toppled over and Mr Yakar fell to the ground, where he was struck by another box which fell off the lorry and landed on him.

Mr Yakar died at the scene of the accident, despite efforts to revive him.

The subsequent HSE investigation into the fatal work accident found that Morganite Electrical Carbon Ltd did not have in place safe working procedures for receiving and unloading delivery vehicles.

The company also failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for unloading at the site – and had no set policy in place for dealing with drivers who could not speak English

On Friday (17/02/14) at Swansea Crown Court, Morganite Electrical Carbon Limited of Upper Forest Way in Swansea pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states:

“It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states:

“Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of: a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking.”

Morganite Electrical Carbon Ltd was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £16,021 in costs.

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Steve Lewis, said:

“The company failed to provide their employees with suitable instructions and safe systems of work for accepting lorry deliveries to site. They should have taken responsibility for the driver’s safety and the delivery and unloading operation.

“This tragic incident could have been avoided had Morganite carried out a proper risk assessment of the unloading procedure – and insisted Mr Yakar opened the curtain sides to the truck, instead of unloading from the rear of the vehicle.

“Mr Yakar and his family in Turkey have paid the ultimate price for Morganite’s carelessness in this regard.”

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Duncan Lewis is a leading firm of personal injury and Legal Aid solicitors and can advise on making a no win no fee compensation claim for accidents at work and work injuries if an employer or other party is negligent.

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For expert legal advice on claiming for injuries or accidents at work and industrial disease compensation, contact Duncan Lewis Solicitors on 020 7923 4020.

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