Aeroplane manufacturer Airbus has been prosecuted after a fatal accident in which an untrained worker was crushed between a tractor and a fertiliser spreader.
The incident occurred at the firm’s Broughton site in November 2011, Mold Crown Court heard, before ordering the company to pay more than £250,000 in fines and costs.
Donny Williams, 62, was employed in the maintenance department, servicing Airbus’ fleet of vehicles.
He had been asked to fit a fertiliser spreader to the back of a tractor as part of a trial to spread granular de-icer onto the plant’s runway.
Fatal accidents at work
Mr Williams asked his co-worker to aid this work by starting the tractor and pulling a lever in the cab. But as he did this, Mr Williams became trapped between the tractor’s rear tyre and the spreader. He was freed but tragically died shortly after in hospital, the court was told.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found:
Mr Williams and his colleagues had received no training on how to work the equipment; nor were they trained on how to drive, maintain or attach equipment to the tractor; the company did not have a safe system for attaching equipment to tractors; and a risk assessment for the job had not been carried out.
Meanwhile, none of the fitters were aware of the operator’s manual for the tractor or familiar with the controls, the HSE discovered.
The firm was criticised for its “trial and error” approach, with the HSE describing it as a preventable accident.
It said the “safe-stop” industry practice should have been in place, which would have ensured the hand brake was fully applied, all controls and equipment were in neutral and the engine was stopped with the key removed.
Breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Airbus Operations Ltd of Aerospace Avenue, Filton, Bristol, pleaded guilty to a breach of health and safety regulations. It was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £58,891 in costs.
If your family member was involved in a fatal accident at work, you could be entitled to compensation.
Accident Advice Helpline offers a free, no-obligation initial discussion. Call the 24-hour helpline on 0800 689 0500 or from your mobile on 0333 500 0993. for more information.
Source: BBC News
Date Published: July 19, 2014
Author: David Brown