Haulage firm sentenced over worker death

A haulage firm based in Dumfries, Scotland has been sentenced by Ayr Sheriff Court for the death of a worker on Christmas Eve 2014.

Andrew Adams was offloading a vehicle in Arnimean, Galloway Forest on behalf of general haulage firm J & J Currie Limited when the incident occurred. After one of the hydraulic ramps on the delivery vehicle failed to lower, the worker removed a hoseburst valve which caused the ramp to fall down onto him suddenly following a catastrophic release of hydraulic pressure. Mr Adams died as a result of his injuries.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found that the company had failed to plan for such incidents, as well as poorly assessing the complexity of the repair and the significant risks of carrying out such repairs. The health and safety body also discovered that neither Mr Adams nor the delivery driver had the skills to carry out the repair.

If your company employs staff or contractors to work in potentially hazardous areas, it is important that the proper precautions are in place to reduce the risk of injury. As part of these precautions, you should ensure you have employers' liability insurance to cover the type of work being done.

Representatives of J & J Currie Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. The company was then fined £45,000.

Jane Scott, an inspector for the HSE who was working on the case, said after the hearing: “This tragic loss of life could have been avoided and highlights the risks associated with maintenance and repair, and the need for those undertaking work to be competent, ensuring work is planned, and the risks are fully understood and managed.”