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Firm fined for breaching safety—seven years after driver’s death

PUBLISHED: 22:20 24 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:13 05 October 2010

EMPLOYERS are being warned against ignoring basic safety rules after a haulage company was convicted for a lorry driver’s death more than seven years ago. The warning follows prosecution at the Old Bailey over the 57-year-old's death while operating his tipper truck in 2001

By Julia Gregory

EMPLOYERS are being warned against ignoring basic safety precautions after a haulage company was convicted for a lorry driver’s death in East London more than seven years ago.

The warning follows prosecution at the Old Bailey over 57-year-old Joseph Caruana who was crushed to death operating his tipper truck at the RMC Readymix depot at The Highway in Shadwell, near Tower Hill.

The prosecution was brought by the Health & Safety Executive following a full investigation into the accident in December 2001.

TIPPER JACK-KNIFED

Mr Caruana was unloading shingle after reversing the articulated vehicle onto a concrete ramp and activated the tipping mechanism.

He put on the handbrake in the driver’s cab—but didn’t engage the trailer parking brake.

The shingle load piled up at the rear, causing the vehicle to skid down the ramp.

Mr Caruana jumped back into the cab, but didn’t have time to shut the door.

The vehicle jack-knifed, hurling him from the cab and under the trailer wheels.

His employer John Wootten, formerly trading as AEP Aggregates of Silvertown, East London, was fined £4,000 at the court hearing on March 16, plus £750 costs, after admitting two breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act.

BASIC SAFETY

Health and Safety inspector Charles Linfoot said this week: “Hauliers must make sure they have safety systems, which include risk assessments, adequate training and supervision of all workers.

“These simple actions could have saved Mr Caruana’s life. It is appalling his employer ignored basic safety precautions and is completely unacceptable that a man was killed in these circumstances.”

The prosecution more than seven years after the accident, the HSE warns, shows the determination to take enforcement action against companies breaching safety rules.


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