A container firm has been fined £180,000 after an employee suffered “life-changing injuries” in an industrial accident.
The worker was driving a straddle carrier at Tilbury Docks on November 16, 2014, when it toppled over into an excavation, Basildon Crown Court heard.
As well as suffering a head wound which required 29 staples to close, the worker also continues to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
London Container Terminal (Tilbury) Limited (LCT) pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations and failing to introduce appropriate precautions that would have protected its worker from harm.
A ‘preventable’ accident
A straddle carrier is a vehicle commonly used in port terminals for stacking and moving freight shipping containers.
The employee was using the straddle carrier which should have been prevented from entering a large excavation, the court was told.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there were insufficient measures taken by the employer to prevent the vehicle’s access to the excavation.
Darkness, bad weather and poor conditions stopped the driver from seeing any warning markers – cones, flashing lights and tape – and he inadvertently overturned into the large hole.
HSE Inspector Nicola Jaynes said after the hearing: “This was a serious incident and could have been much worse. This was preventable if LCT had the correct safety precautions in place.”
Straddle carrier drivers working on the site had been exposed to the risk for several days prior to the accident, the court was told.
A warning for all
London Container Terminal Limited of Northfleet Hope House, Tilbury Docks, Tilbury pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The firm, which has now ceased training, has been fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £73,296, that will now be paid by the Port of Tilbury (London) Limited.
“This case serves as a reminder that suitable precautions are required to protect both pedestrians and vehicles from entering excavations,” Ms Jaynes added.
Source: Health and Safety Executive