Viridor fined over runaway lorry

A waste management firm has been fined after a worker attempted to stop his runaway lorry rolling along a public road.

The worker was dragged under the vehicle’s wheels as it crossed a road junction before crashing into a hospital building.

Poor risk assessment

The worker had been told by a fellow driver to park on a slope while removing skips of ash from a hospital incinerator.

The worker and colleagues regularly collected the skips. But the court heard the employer should have carried out a specific risk assessment for the site.

Drivers were given general guidance for loading and unloading. However, more safety measures should have been in place particularly given the danger of vehicles rolling away.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the:

  • lorry’s handbrake had not been applied
  • risk assessment was not suitable and sufficient
  • work had not been appropriately planned

The HSE said the employer:

  • should have carried out a specific risk assessment that addressed waste collection at the incinerator site
  • failed to properly assess the suitability of the location that drivers were using

More focused    

The HSE said the fact the driver’s chosen location was on an incline heightened the need for careful risk assessment.

The waste firm accepted its risk assessment could have been more focused.

Viridor Waste Management Limited admitted breaking the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

It was fined £237,500 and ordered to pay costs of £128,428.

Both the HSE and industry guidance suggest loading/unloading should be done on firm and level ground.

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