£5,000 fine after delivery driver killed by falling stone tiles

A transport company has been fined £5,000 after an agency driver died following a pallet of stone tiles he was delivering falling on him.

High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 23 November 2016, an agency driver was delivering for Reason Transport UK Ltd at Fraser Road, High Wycombe.

The driver was delivering a pallet of stone tiles using a tail-lift and a manual pallet truck. He spent several minutes struggling to lift and manoeuvre the pallet on to the truck’s tail-lift. When he eventually succeeded in doing so, he lost control of the pallet, which fell on to him, causing crush injuries that proved fatal.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the weight of the pallet was recorded as 1,200kg but actually weighed more than 1,400kg. The pallet was in excess of the 1,000kg weight limit set by the pallet network for tail-lift deliveries.

The investigation also found that the driver had worked for the company for two weeks without receiving any training for the safe delivery of pallets using a tail-lift.

Reason Transport UK Ltd is now in liquidation. It pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £5,000.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the host company to provide training to this agency worker on the safe delivery of pallets from a vehicle with a tail-lift.

“Transport companies should be aware of the importance of identifying and managing the risks involved with delivering heavy loads and the need to adequately train new staff before undertaking such deliveries.

Statement from Reason Transport Ltd:

The fine announced relates to Oxfordshire-based Reason Transport UK Ltd, which ceased trading in 2017 due to issues with the viability and scale of the delivery areas within the Palletways network. This tragic accident was due to the industry wide issue of inaccurate labelling of pallet weights, leading to the handling of an overweight pallet. Our thoughts are with the driver’s family and we fully support industry wide efforts to ensure that pallet weights are limited and accurately reported throughout the delivery process to protect all drivers in the UK.