A plastering company’s director died during a modified delivery operation on a construction site in London recently. The construction company responsible was ordered to pay over £50,000($73,683.50) in fines and prosecution costs. The accident happened when a pallet containing over a tonne of render fell on top of him, killing him. The man was the director of a plastering company who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The incident occurred when delivery operations were being carried out and the pallet fell and struck the man, aged 37.The victim Phillip Ring was from Plymouth.
The site had breached safety regulations by not offloading the delivery at a nearby construction site using a forklift truck but restrictions on access to the site and a lack of mechanical handling equipment resulted in unloading the pallet by hand at a nearby business park using the pallet truck and lorry tail lift.
A post on PPCConstructionSafety.com explains further:
During the operation control of the load was ‘lost’ causing the load to fall from the tail lift thereby crushing Mr Ring who was standing on the road at the rear of the vehicle. He suffered serious head injuries and died later at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.
Significant risks involved in delivery operations
RR Transport Ltd of Redruth was fined £22,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jo Fitzgerald said:
“This was a tragic incident and it illustrates the significant risks involved in delivery operations. Thinking through those risks in a structured way helps delivery firms identify what could go wrong and improve safety.
While HSE does not say that RR Transport’s failings caused Mr Ring’s death, by failing to assess the risks properly the company did not have a number of important steps in place, which would have made their operation safer.
The company did not have a clear, consistent system for drivers to follow for using tail lifts, the tail lifts on their vehicles had not had the thorough examinations required by law and they did not have a proper system for inspecting their pallet trucks.”
Good planning and preparation are the keys to safe loading and offloading on construction sites. Early identification of traffic management, holding areas and loading/unloading facilities that are required will establish the safety management leadership to support good practice when all loading and unloading takes place on construction sites. While there are some principal contractors that take their responsibilities seriously and provide access gantries that can be located around the site at appropriate positions for off-loading and others have installed systems for the contractors to connect their safety equipment to before offloading, there are still some that aren’t concerned about the danger workers and the public are being confronted with because of improper loading and offloading.