A ferry operator has been prosecuted after an employee sustained serious injuries when he was struck by a van being reversed out of a docked vessel.
One of the biggest hazards we see at Law At Work is the interaction between vehicles and pedestrians in the workplace. The basic principles we follow are Safe site, Safe Vehicle, Safe Driver. Unfortunately, in this case it appears that this has not been applied.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that on 17 September 2017, a pontoon traffic marshal working for Stena Line Limited, was struck by a 3.5 tonne delivery van at the company’s port terminal in Birkenhead, Wirral. The van was being reversed off the Stena Lagan vessel onto the pontoon area by a port service operative.
The vehicle reversed over the employee’s head and body after the initial collision had knocked him down. The employee suffered multiple injuries that included numerous fractures to his skull, ribs and other bones, loss of sight in one eye. He has been left with double vision in the other eye and ongoing mental health problems.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no consideration of physical segregation of pedestrian operatives from moving vehicles when vessels were being unloaded. Stena Line Limited had failed to adequately assess the risks to pedestrians from moving vehicles and consequently put in place effective control measures leading to a safe system of work.
Stena Line Limited of Station Road, Ashford, Kent, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6576.15.