William ‘Dougald’ Sim, then aged 60, was working for Aberlour-based McPherson Limited when the incident occurred on 14 January 2013.
An unsecured barrel, weighing more than 40kg, fell from a lorry onto his head as he was unloading a vehicle at Speyside Cooperage.
Elgin Sheriff Court heard how Mr Sim had driven the three-level vehicle loaded with 210 empty bourbon casks from the company’s Fisherton Garage depot in Aberlour to Speyside Cooperage.
He parked along the slope of the unloading bay with the cab facing the front of the site.
A landing sponge was placed at the rear of the lorry to catch loads if they fell but no restraints were put in place to prevent the barrels falling from the third tier other than wooden chocks, which is exactly what happened.
Mr Sim, who had worked for the company for 27 years, suffered fractures to his skull, right eye area and a vertebra. He needed 14 stitches to his skull and lower left leg, while he had to wear a neck brace for six months.
The bones in his skull and spine may never fully heal. A neurologist treating him said he was lucky to be alive as the impact of the barrel broke the top vertebrae in his neck, which can affect the respiratory system.
Accident at work claim
The Health and Safety Executive concluded that McPherson Limited, of Aberlour, Moray had failed to ensure a suitable system was in place to secure loads on all third tiers of vans. It pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 10(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
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