Lorry firm fined after driver’s fall

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A MAJOR St Helens firm has been fined after a horrific accident which an employee badly injured.

The incident took place at the Wincanton Group’s Elton Head Road site in October 2010.

One of the haulage firms drivers fell into an open inspection pit as he walked through the vehicle maintenance unit.

He suffered seious leg and knee injuries which required surgery and a three-day stay in hospital, as well as a further hospital stay.

Immediately after the incident, St Helens’s Council’s environmental health section conducted a thorough investigation into the accident.

The probe found that at the time of the accident there were insufficient systems of work in place prohibiting the access of unauthorised personnel into the vehicle maintenance unit.

Wincanton Group Ltd, pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to ensure so far as was reasonably practicable the health and safety of an employee, a charge brought under the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974.

Last week they were fined £7,000 (reduced to £4,700 for an early guilty plea) and agreed to pay investigation costs of £2,417.

Councillor Richard McCauley, cabinet member for Environmental Protection and Safer Communities, said: “This unfortunate accident could easily have been prevented if at the time the Company had had in place robust safe systems of work which were made known to employees and which were being followed.

The injured driver should never have been allowed into the area where the accident occurred.

“The council investigates work place accidents which are reported to them with the aim of determining what if anything has failed.”